Richard Sudhalter

Richard Sudhalter (1938-2008) was a man of many parts: a cornetist, band-member, recording artist, orchestra organizer, researcher, author and, those in the profession should be glad to add, jazz journalist. An indefatigible proponent of traditional jazz musicians including Bix Beiderbecke and Hoagy Carmichael, whose biographies he wrote, Dick was also jazz critic of the New York Post in the 1970s and '80s. His 1999 book Lost Chords: White Musicians and Their Contributions to Jazz, 1915-1945 (Oxford University Press) created a storm of controversy, yet could not be faulted for historical accuracy or the need to fill in this topic of jazz history. He was an elegant and witty man, well-traveled and a fine story teller, whether using words or simply notes. He was not a joiner, never a member of the Jazz Journalists Association, although he participated in one of the first JJA "Jazz Matters" panels, "Jazz Criticism, Jazz Journalism, Jazz Authorship" with Sharony Andrews Green, Bill Milkowski, Robert O'Meally, Gary Giddins and Howard Mandel, held at the Jazz Gallery in 1999. He is survived by the books he wrote and the albums he played on, his friends and colleagues, his readers and listeners, his companion Dorothy Kellogg, his sister Carol, his brother James and daughters Adrian and Kimberley, among many holding him in high regard. -- JJA

 

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