August 10, 1938 – April 13, 2011
I just learned about the death of a dear friend. A woman I never met or even spoke to, yet shared many a conversation.
Sandi was a regular poster on the All About Jazz board that I frequented over the last number of years. She was a living connection to the past who shared her stories with us almost daily. When she was a young teenager in Hermosa Beach California she spent a great deal of time at a popular Jazz club, The Lighthouse. Here she was a witness to some of the greatest Jazz music ever made, by the likes of Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Stan Levey, Conte Candoli and Sonny Clark.
That’s her in the doorway of The Lighthouse, she told me that a cold rain was blowing and she had taken shelter here when the picture was taken.
It was her first person accounts of Sonny Clark that captivated me. Sonny had a brief and tumultuous career and his name never quite rose to the ranks of Bird or ‘Trane, but he was a personal favorite of mine so I often prodded Sandi for more stories and she obliged every time.
It dawned on me that she was a wealth of information and should consider writing a book about her experiences. But she downplayed it and said she wasn’t a writer by any stretch. She may not have been a Writer, but she was an amazing storyteller and I hung on her every word. I even suggested that she sit down with someone to record her telling her stories so that we should have them for years to come. To my knowledge she never did.
Back in January someone at the all About Jazz board decided it might be a good idea to collect all of the posts she had made on the site, for posterity. Sandi welcomed the idea actually and no doubt would have been a great resource for editing it all into something cohesive.
Sadly she passed away on April 13th before any more work could be done.
The work will continue with the help of her family and all of the people she touched in the All About Jazz community. Maybe one day soon Jazz lovers all over the World will get to know Sandi the way we knew her.
The only thing that’s bringing a smile to my lips as I write this is the thought that she has been reunited with all of the greats who went before her. Sitting at her table down in front of the bandstand and reliving all of the great performances of the past.
You will be missed Sandi. I consider it an honor to have known you.