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RIP Chuck Metcalf

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Ed Fuqua, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    From Chuck's son Mathew:
    I'm in Room 316, Northaven, Seattle. It's where my Dad died this morning, 3 days after his 81st birthday. We were keeping a vigil ever since he returned from the hospital, after he decided to end treatment and go on hospice. He was still talking on his birthday, and asked for a couple of tacos and Mexican beer lol. The next day he could barely speak and yesterday he had his eyes closed and not moving all day. We have a wonderful family and have all supported him and eachother through this. He lived a great, fulfilling life and was a good father to us. R.I.P, Chuck Metcalf! I love you!

    I met Chuck when he was in Charleston SC performing at Spoleto with Dexter Gordon. He was a mentor, friend and longtime bandmate of my friend, Dan Greenblatt.
  2. madurolover


    May 21, 2011
    Tampa Fl
    Condolances to the family and rest in peace Chuck Metcalf
  3. Michael Glynn

    Michael Glynn

    Feb 25, 2004
    Chuck was one of my big influences in Seattle when I first started playing jazz. I was fortunate to reconnect with him when he moved to New Mexico last year. A great player and a great person. Thanks for the music, Chuck!
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    From my buddy Dan -

    I met Chuck at a session in 1983, and we worked together constantly after that until he left Seattle at the end of 1995. We stayed close right up through last month.
    Chuck was a most generous spirit, certainly to me in a thousand ways, but I saw it all the time with others as well. He always went to everybody’s gigs, kept up with all the new cats in town, played sessions in his free time (not a lot of bass players, especially great ones, do this–think of how many times your sessions have died for lack of a bass player!), and in general was the kind of guy who maintained and created connections. A real community builder. And he supported all kinds of improvised music, including stuff that was controversial, cutting-edge, out of the box. He never sent out a dismissive or exclusionary vibe, except perhaps in the direction of the electric bass (“I don’t play guitar,” I heard him say once to somebody who asked him to “bring his electric” to a gig). He heard what musicians could do rather than what they couldn’t do.
    Also a magnificent tune-writer. We did two CD’s in the early 90′s (Elsie Street and Help is Coming), and between them there were about 20 originals, almost all gems. It’s unfortunate that his stuff never made it to fake books. I think his best work, especially Elsie Street, Forget Me Not, and Old Fashioned Love, among others, belongs in the same company with classics by Monk, Wayne, Joe, you name it. I still play these tunes, and they stand up next to anything and everything. If anyone wants charts, I’m happy to share them. His very last tune, with the foreboding title “Endgame,” needs to be played and heard.
    Chuck was also a terrific writer, someone who couldn’t stop churning out words. This in fact was, at certain times over the past 30 years, as much the basis of our friendship as was music. He had his early book (late 70′s?), written with Walt Tianen, exploring the analogy between chromatic theory in art and in music. The back cover to the Help Is Coming CD had a psychedelic representation of the idea. His explication in the book is very stimulating, and it’s a concept that deserves much more attention. More recently he produced a book with a title something like “Complete Chromatic Catalog,” a music theory tome, which extended and applied some of the ideas from the first book. And then finally he finished, just weeks before he died, his “Jazz Harmony from the Bottom Up,” which is an outstandingly clear and wise book on harmony for bass players. As with his tunes, these things have never been published, though I’m thinking of making a serious effort with that last book.
    He didn’t confine himself, however, to writing about music. He was always sending me long essays on a variety of topics, most often what might be called “social engineering.” He was fascinated by politics, on all levels from the politics of jazz to things on a national and international level. Several of his essays were on environmental and ecological issues. Truly a flexible and astute intellect. And the writing was elegant and thoughtful–he didn’t dash anything off.
    For me and a number of other musicians of my generation, Chuck was a beacon. That’s what I want to be like when I get to that age: lively, outgoing, fearless, open-hearted, creative. I saw him go through some very rough times but he never lost his spirit and his focus and his productivity. He was amazingly resilient.
    I am very thankful to have gotten a chance to know him, work with him, share musical space with him, help him in his times of need, and learn from him. Here in New York, at least in a very small circle, he will be mourned, celebrated, and missed.
    Dan Greenblatt
    New York, January 2012

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