My mother endured a tough day recently. Last weekend, on Saturday, September 25th, she and my father would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. For those of you who don’t know, my father died of a massive stroke in December of 2004. Mom mentioned the would-be golden anniversary to her family and friends that day, and her sadness was evident.
For 44 years, Mom was a musician’s wife. Like my brother and I, she lived in Dad’s musical orbit and was indoctrinated into his musical tastes, which were impeccable. If you had asked my father who his favorite jazz trumpeter was he would have answered, without hesitation, Clifford Brown. A gifted young player from Wilmington, Delaware, Clifford Brown attracted attention early while still in his teens. Tragically, Brown’s life and career were abruptly cut short in 1956 when he was killed in a car accident on his way to a gig. He was just 25 years old.
My father, a trumpet player himself, was disheartened by the loss, as were all of Clifford’s bandmates and friends and the entire jazz community. A year later, tenor saxophonist Benny Golson wrote a song in honor of the late Clifford Brown called “I Remember Clifford”. A sensitive, melodic, expressive composition, “I Remember Clifford” became an instant jazz standard.
Today’s “Music Monday” is in memory of my Dad and for my Mom who lost the chance to commemorate 50 years of marriage with her musician husband. This is Lee Morgan, an amazing trumpet player in his own right, performing “I Remember Clifford”. Watch and listen everybody. It’s a beauty.