Mal Waldron, jazz pianist, is dead

Mal Waldron, of whom all the obits’ first lines will say was Billie Holliday’s last pianist, died in Brussels at the age of 77.

I’ll miss him…I heard him play several times at the Village Vanguard in the '80s and early '90s (he stopped coming back to NYC when the jazz clubs banned smoking in the mid-'90s). His duet album with soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, HOT HOUSE (1991) and his combo album MY DEAR FAMILY (1996) get regular play around here, not to mention the dozens of albums in my collection where he’s a sideman.

Do any obits mention his prominent place in Frank O’Hara’s great poem about “The Day Lady Died”?

I just sat down at the piano to learn Soul Eyes, in tribute. What a beautiful tune.

Damn. Just ran up to get my “real book,” to do the same thing. Not in there. It should be between Herbie Hancock’s “The Sorceror” and Miles Davis’s “So What,” and it’s not.

It’s in v. 2.

That was one of the first tunes a jazz teacher ever gave me; it was too hard at the time. I wish I had an album Waldron’s on…

Noooooo! I didn’t even know he was sick!

[Did he ever play backup for Adele Jergens?]