June 15, 2024

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Drummer Peter Turre at age 65; Saxophonist Andrew Speight at age 58; Pianist David Ornette Cherry at age 64; German jazz promoter Heinz Huber at age 79: Videos, Photos:

Peter Joseph Turre passed away peacefully on November 28, 2022. A New Orleans resident for 25 years, he was born in Oakland, CA to James and Carmen Turre on April 11, 1957. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area (Lafayette/Moraga) and attended Campolindo High School and the University of CA, Berkeley. As a professional musician, he traveled the world as the drummer for the Ray Charles Orchestra for over 20 years.

He played his drums on large stages in front of huge crowds, in small theaters, in tiny jazz clubs and as a trio with Ray Charles and symphony orchestras in historic halls. Peter loved it all and he overflowed with talent, wit, charm and a heart as warm as the sun. In recent years he thoroughly enjoyed working as a member of the Commander’s Palace Restaurant team.

He always loved being surrounded by great people, delicious food and our wonderful New Orleans culture. Father, James B. Turre; Paternal Grandparents, Ernest J. and Anita B. Turre; Maternal Grandparents, Arthur A. and Maria S. Johnson all preceded Peter in death. Peter will be sorely missed by his beloved wife, Phyllis Turre, and by his adored daughter, Chelsea (Joshua) Evans, and cherished grandchildren, Anabelle, Brady, Henley and Levi. Also he is survived by his loving Mother, Carmen J. Turre and by brothers, Michael J. Turre, Stephen (Pamela) Turre; sisters, Suzanne Cory and Michele Turre.

He will be missed by his nieces, Maya Turre, Andromeda (Lars) Klein, Rosario Friedman and Sara Cory; nephews, Orion Turre, Alexander Friedman, David Cory and Vanderbilt Klein. Especially missing Peter will be close cousin, Cathy (John) Chaloner and family.

Many other family members will cherish his memory. Peter leaves so much love and so many memories with his enormous number of close friends all over the world. He never met a stranger and never forgot a friend. A celebration of his short but well lived life will be held in late Spring. Details provided near that time. Mothe Funeral Home is assisting the family during this difficult time.

I was best friends with Peter in the early and mid-1980’s when he moved to the Bronx. Still remember his apartment at 3510 Bainbridge Ave. I remember going to a Yankee game together on a July 4th and watching Dave Righetti pitch a no-hitter. And watching his Oakland Raiders in the Super Bowl (with Jim Plunkett as QB) at a party he hosted in his apartment. But the best story was when Peter put together a band to play at my first wedding in December 1983. He hired a young girl from the South to be his lead singer in a makeshift band for $60. Years later I found out it was Cassandra Wilson. I met Cassandra a couple of years ago and told her the story, and we both had a good laugh. Peter was everything you could ask for in a friend. I will miss him dearly.
Ray Charles Video Museum: Ray Charles Band Augmented By Moscow Symphony Ork  (2000)

The Bay Area jazz community is mourning the loss of a popular alto sax player and educator who died Thursday in Burlingame when two trains struck the car he was driving.

The San Mateo County Coroner’s Office identified the deceased as 58-year-old Burlingame resident Andrew Speight.

Family members also confirmed Speight’s death in a brief post on his Facebook page.

“I wish I didn’t have to share this devastating news,” the post said. “Our lovely Hurricane Andrew Speight left this world yesterday. Please take a moment to pray for his peace.”

The fatal collision was reported around 1:40 p.m. Thursday near the Broadway Caltrain station in Burlingame. According to the commuter rail line, a motorist drove onto the tracks, got stuck and was struck by a southbound train and then by a northbound train.

Speight was a popular attraction on the Bay Area jazz scene, performing countless gigs over the years at numerous clubs as well as at such high-profile events as the Stanford Jazz Festival. He also lectured in the School of Music at San Francisco State University.

“In addition to being one of the finest alto sax players anywhere, Andrew was a consummate gentleman,” said Steve Borkenhagen, who founded and operated Café Stritch in San Jose, where Speight performed. “He mentored young players and was a trusted friend to all of us in the jazz business.”

When COVID hit, Speight “stepped up and created a beautiful ‘jazz club’ in his home … and he held weekly concerts with many of the brightest lights in the jazz firmament,” Borkenhagen said. “We will all miss him dearly.”

Speight was born and grew up in Sydney, Australia, where he learned to play saxophone and had the chance to perform with such notable artists as Percy Heath, Nat Adderley and Benny Carter, as they toured Australia. The alto saxophonist received a good deal of recognition for his work in his home country, culminating when his 1998 album, “Andrew Speight Quartet,” received an Aria Award, the Australian equivalent of a Grammy.

On his SFSU bio page, the School of Music praised him as “one of the Bay Area’s most lively and lyrical exponents of straight-ahead, joyous jazz,”  noting that he has been “blowing the doors off of every joint lucky enough to have him on the bandstand.”

Many of the saxophonist’s friends and fans posted remembrances on Speight’s Facebook page.

“Such a deep sense of sadness. Andrew touched so many through his teaching (and) playing,” one person posted.

“He was a mentor and a friend,” another person wrote in tribute. “This is a huge loss not only to the musical community but to those that loved him. I’ll never forget that beautiful goofy smile he had during his sets. My deepest condolences.”

Andrew Speight, Bay Area sax player and jazz instructor, dies in collision  with train at 58

They called him “Bull”, and that says a lot about Heinz Huber’s sense of humor, the tall, slim man who didn’t have anything brawny about him.

Except maybe the will and assertiveness of a bull. Now the entrepreneur from Vilshofen (Passau district) and tireless culture maker died on Saturday, November 19, after a long illness at the age of 79.

Heinz Huber

Two leading longtime Oregon musical figures – the contemporary classical composer and pianist Tomas Svoboda, and the jazz and world music composer and pianist David Ornette Cherry – have died. Cherry, 64, died in London on Sunday, Nov.

20, 2022, after an asthma attack. Svoboda, 82, died in Portland on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, ten years after suffering a major stroke that had cut his prolific composing career short.

Svoboda, born in Paris to Czech parents and raised in Prague, was a musical prodigy. His Symphony No. 1, “Of Nature,” composed when he was just 16, caused a sensation when it was premiered. He left his then-Communist homeland with his family when he was 24, coming to the United States and eventually settling in Portland, which proved a fertile home for music-making. His music has been heard around the world, performed by many leading symphonic orchestras and ensembles. Among his many compositions are six symphonies, seven concerti, and twelve string quartets. A recording of his Marimba Concerto featuring Niel DePonte as soloist with the Oregon Symphony was nominated for a 2003 Grammy Award.

ArtsWatch will publish a more complete appreciation of Svoboda and his music, by Brett Campbell, later this week.

David Ornette Cherry was born in Watts, Los Angeles, but had lived in Portland for many years, composing and performing in Oregon and often around the world. He was the son of the great jazz trumpeter Don Cherry, and was given his middle name in honor of the legendary jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman, with whom Don Cherry was recording the album Somethin Else the year David was born. David Cherry grew up surrounded by the contemporary jazz sounds that filled his family’s Los Angeles home, and began performing with his father at 16.

He had been in London when he died, to take part in a celebration of his father’s music at a jazz festival. He had been scheduled to take part in Don Cherry tribute concerts in Zurich, Switzerland, on Nov. 22 and in Cologne, Germany, on Nov. 27.

David Cherry kept a solid grounding in progressive jazz but also expanded his influences to include the wealth of world music and even ambient sound. “My music career and education have thrust me into a variety of musical expressions that I call my ‘mosaic of sound’,” he wrote. “I have been influenced by music of the world – the music of the spirit created from a powerful tapestry of rhythms and sensual melodies. Yet I am also influenced by the infusion of modern technology into that sound – I am a mix of world and jazz idioms.”

Cherry was a frequent and creative collaborator with other artists, working sometimes with choreographers and playwrights. Among his Oregon collaborators were the late singer Lyndee Mah and the writer Susan Banyas, for whom he composed the score for the stage version of her book The Hillsboro Story, based on a landmark school desegregation case in her hometown of Hillsboro, Ohio.

“Organic Nation Listening Club (The Continual) sounds like transmissions from another dimension, with its leader at the center of the glorious fray,” Brad Cohan wrote in a December 2021 review for Jazz Times of Cherry’s latest album. “Credited with vocals, soundscapes, douss’n gouni, and ‘percussions,’ and bolstered by a 13-piece ensemble that includes his nieces Tyson McVey and Naima Karlsson, Cherry is not only fearless but also wondrously versatile.”

In spirit: David Ornette Cherry. (MetalJazz)

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