Category Archives: Final Notes / In Memoriam

Final Note: Pat Rizzo

Life Member. Flute
11/30/1941 – 4/15/2021

by Carl Rigoli

I met Pat Rizzo at JHS 141 Astoria, Queens, NYC in the 7th grade and he formed his first band which included Pat on tenor sax, Andre Simone on guitar and myself, Carl Rigoli, on drums. We were all 12 years old and rehearsed at Andre’s house. I remember playing our first performance for our school’s student and faculty assembly. We played “Blue Suede Shoes” and everyone loved it. Pat was our leader and he started booking gigs for local functions such as the Moose Lodge, weddings, etc. We all attended Bryant High School and added another sax and trumpet, plus a bass player named Wally Capone Puschmann to our rhythm section. He named the band the Cavilers and we performed for all the school dances, proms and many local gigs. We played rock, standards, and jazz. Continue reading

Final Note: Jonathan Mako Sharkey

Member. Keyboard
7/18/1949 – 12/1/2020

Jonathan Mako Sharkey, 71, succumbed to brain cancer on December 1, 2020. He was a gifted keyboard player. While he held 16 album credits with other artists, he recorded two solo albums (“Voyager,” “West of Malibu”) that feature original songs and a unique Dr. John-type singing voice. Continue reading

Final Note: Daniel Thomason

Dan Thomason, en route to Berlin. Winter, 1959

Life Member. Viola
6/27/1934 – 5/25/2020

by Anita Thomason

We made music together, both literally and metaphorically, from the day we met in an orchestra in 1955. We married in 1959, and across the years had many memorable musical adventures. We had two sons whom Dan loved deeply — Matthew and Peter, one a fine art printmaker and the other a pianist, guitarist and piano technician. Continue reading

Final Note: David Johnson

Former Life Member. Percussion
10/1/1948 – 6/7/2020

David Johnson, award-winning musician, 71, died of natural causes on June 7, 2020, two years after retiring to his childhood home in Port Angeles, Washington, to enjoy the beauty and peace of the Pacific Northwest. David enjoyed an accomplished musical career, including winning a Grammy Award for Best Classical Compendium in 2015 as a member of the PARTCH Ensemble. He also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, toured with the late pianist Roger Williams, and taught at the California Institute of the Arts for 26 years. His music both brought great joy both to David and to his audiences, and he inspired generations of young musicians as a beloved and respected professor of percussive arts. Continue reading

Final Note: Pat Longo

Life Member. Alto/Tenor Saxophone
9/11/1929 – 3/26/2020

Big band leader and alto sax great Pat Longo died on March 26, 2020 of the coronavirus. He was 90 years old. Pat was a first rate musician who lived a long life and made a lot of great music. Among the highlights of his career, Pat was lead alto on the Harry James Band. With Harry’s blessing, Pat founded and directed the Pat Longo Super Big Band and the Pat Longo Hollywood Big Band, performing and recording with L.A.’s best. Continue reading

Final Note: Howlett ‘Smitty’ Smith

Life Member. Piano
2/28/1933 – 11/24/2019

by Paul Gormley, Life Member

Howlett Smith was a unique pianist, singer, whistler, composer, and lyricist who I had the pleasure of working with for more than 25 years. Smitty’s career was mainly as musical entertainer in live venues. He performed at Bob Burns restaurant in Santa Monica for 10 years, left to play at Sterlings in Santa Monica for 10 years, then returned to Bob Burns for a 20(!)-year run. He had a fan base that ranged from non-musicians to jazz DJ Chuck Niles and singer Mark Murphy. Continue reading

Final Note: Richard ‘Slyde’ Hyde

Life Member. Trombone
7/4/1936 – 7/15/2019

by Paul Gormley, Life Member

I met Slyde in 1988 on bus trip to Lake Havasu with the Capp/Pierce Juggernaut big band. Before we arrived back in L.A., Slyde had invited me to come to his and Yolee’s Lake Sherwood home for dinner. This was the beginning of a warm friendship that continues. Continue reading

Final Note: Eric C. (Rick) Culver

Life Member. Trombone
4/30/1943 – 1/11/2020

by Tom & Lila Peterson

This note is in celebration of the life of Rick Culver. I met Rick in 1967 when we were in the Army Special Services band at Fort Meade Maryland. It didn’t take long to become good friends and that friendship has lasted over the years. Continue reading