"Hicks Time": Memorial Celebration for John Hicks
June 4, 2006 - St. Peter's Church
Avenue - New York, NY
Reverend Dale Lind, Pastor
Dr. Roberta E.
photo courtesy by Roberta
John Hicks' untimely passing
was a shock to the international and, mainly, New York jazz community. He was a
versatile and prolific jazz pianist, performed in all the most important clubs and
festivals, worked with Betty Carter, Joe Henderson,
Grady Tate, and, in 1964, he became pianist
for Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, with Lee Morgan and Curtis Fuller.
He collaborated onstage with Frank Foster, Roy Haynes,
Kenny Barron, and Freddie Hubbard.
was a Grammy nominee, an NYU Jazz Fellow, and he developed jazz clinics for his
students. John Hicks was married to flautist, Elise Wood, with whom
he performed for two decades.
At today's memorial celebration
at St. Peter's Church, in a standing-room-only event, numerous accolades and personal
remarks were shared, plus jazz performances and vocals, all presented by close friends
and relatives of John Hicks. As the audience arrived,
Prelude, the music of
John Hicks, could be heard. The memorial celebration began with an invocation
by Reverend Dale Lind and welcoming remarks from James Browne, the
program host. A family remembrance was lovingly and warmly spoken by John's brother,
Raiford Hicks, who referred to John as "June", his nickname.
Among the jazz performances was
Never Let Me Go, by R.
Evans and J. Livingston, performed by Larry Willis,
Buster Williams, and
Jimmy Cobb. A reading was given by pianist, Kenny Barron (a friend
of John's for 50 years), with words by J. Merod. Duke Ellington's
Single Petal of a Rose
was performed on piano by Larry Willis, with repetitive refrains that built
in volume. Naima's Love Song,
by John Hicks, was interpreted by an ensemble, including Elise Wood
on flute and Mulgrew Miller on piano. Some improvisation occurred with the
written program, as additional performers arrived to pay tribute to Mr. Hicks.
Mickey Bass played My Foolish Heart,
and Todd Barkan, Artistic Director of Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, shared
personal reflections of Mr. Hicks with humor and reverence.
Michel LeGrand's How Do
You Keep the Music Playing was melodic and mellow, performed by Larry
Willis, Buster Williams,
and Louis Nash. The spirit of this celebration rose with Kathy Farmer's
uplifting vocals in Come Sunday,
by Duke Ellington, with Larry Willis, Craig Handy, and
Buster Williams in accompaniment.
On the heels of this piece were
Looking for the Light,
composed and played by
Cables, and John Hicks' arrangement of
The Lord's Prayer, by the
World Saxophone Quartet, including a wild musical escapade by James Carter,
plus trombone, bass, and drums, followed by Cecil Taylor's contemporary piano
solo. Joe Lovano's Nonet soon appeared for Bernstein's
Cool, and James Browne
once again spoke to the audience with closing remarks.
The jazz community will miss John Hicks, the musician, and John
Hicks, the man.
John Hicks and Elise Wood at Bösendorfer
(photo courtesy by Roberta Zlokower)
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Publishing Date: 10/08/2006