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Bebop Spoken There

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Friday, September 20, 2019

RIP Harold Mabern

Just heard the sad news that legendary post-bop pianist Harold Mabern (pictured with Martin Hummel)died yesterday (Sept. 19) although, after pulling out of a UK tour through ill health last August, I suppose the advance warnings were there.

It is to my eternal regret that I never heard him live - only on record. The record I'm thinking of is Harold with Eric Alexander - Burnin' in London by the New York All Stars. When Alyn Shipton asked for Record of the Year selections on Jazz Record Requests this was my automatic choice.
In earlier years he was almost a house pianist at Blue Note playing on albums with Hank Mobley (Dippin'), Lee Morgan (The Gigolo) and Freddie Hubbard (Night of the Cookers) among others.

Harold Mabern was 83 - he will be sadly missed.
Lance

3 comments :

Martin Hummel (on F/b) said...

The jazz world has lost another legend, and a warm, charming, wonderful human being. God bless you, Mabes. Never stop hammering those keys, with a touch like no one else. I can still hear your infectious laugh, as you shared your endlessly enchanting stories. You lived your dream. And now your music will live, forever...

Lizzie said...

I knew Harold for 33 years. I studied with him for at least five of those, probably more, I would have to look at my lesson tapes to check. I am deeply grieving. He was not only one of the greatest jazz pianists alive, but so idiosyncratic that it was always and remains impossible to mistake his playing - I am listening to "Philadelphia Bound" as I write this. I saw him many, many times, and shared many hours learning from him. He was perhaps the most generous person I have ever known, and among the very kindest. He was deeply religious and spiritual, and as well such a happy musician, you can hear his joy throughout his recordings and performances. I was privileged to see him perform many times. Many years ago I made a demo CD and got a phone call: "Is this the young lady who sounds like Tommy Flanagan?" That was pure Mabern; always encouraging, always generous. I have many lesson tapes and with fellow student Phill Argyris will be making these available on MP3s for other musicians. I don't know if that is what Harold would have wanted, but I should think he wouldn't mind my sharing them with the world. Nothing can repair this loss; I will not see his like again.

Lance said...

Thank you Lizzie for that heartfelt eulogy to Harold Mabern. How fortunate you must feel by having known him as a friend and mentor whilst, at the same time, adding to your sadness at his passing.
Do keep us informed re the MP3s.

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