It’s with a heavy heart that we note the loss of our good friend Dean Reilly two weeks ago.
This one is for him. Tony Johnson and Glen Deardorff bring Charlie McCarthy and Al Obidinski to the bandstand to pay homage.
Dean was something of a legendary figure in San Francisco jazz history, though one of the most unassuming jazz legends you could imagine. From his youth in Puyallup, Washington, where hearing Jimmy Blanton playing with Duke Ellington’s band gave him the epiphany that made him a bassist, he became a key figure in the San Francisco scene of the 1950s, associated with such venues as the Blackhawk and the hungry i, playing with Vince Guaraldi, Eddie Duran and countless other San Francisco jazz greats not to mention a raft of internationally famed stars from Stan Getz and Anita O’Day to Earl Hines to Thelonious Monk. He was playing as strong in his 90s as he had in his youth, with the advantage of many decades of experience. He was held in universally high esteem by his colleagues, those who knew him well on the bandstand and off. His partner, Kay, let us know how very gracious he was right to the end.
Dean’s close friend, tenor player Chuck Peterson — the true founder of jazz at Bird & Beckett — brought Dean to us, and we presented him every month for many years in the 230 Jones Street Local 6 Literary Jazz Band alongside the late reed player Jerry Logas, tenor player Ray Loeckle, guitarist Glen Deardorff and drummer Tony Johnson.
Both Dean and Jerry battled cancer and both lost the final year of their performing careers to the pandemic that pretty well sidelined all of our jazz practitioners in terms of public performance. We’re sure that both would have played right up to the end, had it been considered safe to bring the musicians together in tight quarters.
We’re still hurting from losing Jerry in early February. His wife, Sue, recently sentÂ some details of his career that we’ll share here… gigging by age 12 in Buffalo, NY, scoring acting jobs in L.A. and on Broadway, working as waiter and maitre d’ at the Village Gate (wherein lies a great Stan Getz story), opening for the Doors and Blood, Sweat & Tears, taking lessons with the great tenor player Booker Ervin… and we well know how he would take his many horns anywhere in San Francisco that some jazz might be allowed to happen, always happy to play into the night with like-minded musicians.
This Friday, drummer Tony Johnson and guitarist Glen Deardorff will assemble the 230 Jones Street Irregulars for a joyful, if sorrow-tinged evening of swing, bop and straight ahead jazz.
The memory of Dean and Jerry, and of survivors Ray Loeckle and Chuck Peterson, who have, at least for now, hung up their horns, will suffuse the evening.
We would be pleased if you would join us. One day, audiences will again fill Bird & Beckett, but for now we’ll still be relying on the live stream to bring their music to you.
You’ll find tonight’s jazz concert on Bird & Beckettâ€™s FacebookÂ page andÂ YouTube channel. Contribute what your economics allow at this link. No one turned away for lack of funds, but $20 is a reasonable amount if you’re able to spare it to support the able and heartfelt work of Dean’s colleagues tonight.
Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.
The BBCLP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit...
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Gigging musicians! You have nothing to lose but your lack of a collective voice to achieve fair wages for your work!
The IMA can be a conduit for you, if you join in to make it work.
Read more here - Andy Gilbert's Feb 25 article about the IMA from KQED's site