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RIP - Tom Madden


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Tom was a good friend from many a concert and from his shop. Oh the tales he told, particularly about the San Francisco scene. And it was all first-hand. The man LIVED jazz. I owe much of my appreciation to his enthusiasm. I call him "friend" (and he called me "Wardell" which he knew I'd take as a compliment) though I can't remember but a dozen conversations about anything other than music.

I'm pecking this out on my mobile phone, so forgive the spelling and such. But Tom's on my mind. I just learned that he passed away on August 15th. RIP Tom. Swingin' on a Star.


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In the 70s - the late 70s in particular - he was at virtually every concert I attended, and I was attending at least three a week. I'm surprised that this news/thread hasn't generated more activity. It's hard to believe that anyone on the San Francisco jazz scene of the past 40 years dodn't have strong memories of Tom, almost universally positive, I would think.

One more link.

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  • 3 months later...

I moved from SF to NY for graduate school last summer, and I was so distracted with readings and paper-writing that I did not notice this thread (I tried to keep reading, but I have missed the discussion with you all, by the way, and I am glad to have a nice break to engage myself again). Even though I didn't catch this news, yesterday I got confirmation mid-conversation with Fred Cohen at the Jazz Record Center that Tom passed away last year. I had been afraid of the news ever since I heard that his store closed down shortly after I moved away. I lived just a few doors down from the Jazz Quarter, so Tom and I became pretty close in his unique way. I knew he had health problems. I spent countless hours in Tom's store trying to understand the discographical constellations he articulated out of an unbelievably expansive knowledge in an environment cluttered with multiple simultaneous sensations: towers of LPs, books, and cds; a record--that he knew I didn't know but that I would like--playing at a loud volume; a live baseball game on his tiny television; intermittent sips from his giant cup of Pepsi; and Irving Pizza crumbs projected from his mouth in every direction (not to mention some of the old jazzbros in these below videos). I'll never forget my first time in the shop. I'm relatively young and new to the idiom compared to many of you. When I walked in there, I was overwhelmed by media. I chose the right question to garner his eccentric sort of indirect affection, though, when I asked him where to start with Lester Young! Each new visit to the store he'd play something that built on a recording I'd bought during the visit before. That would then initiate the conversation, and it would go on all day. There was never any small talk. My participation in the conversation was aided by independent "research" through involvement in this forum. So in a way, many of you participated, too. Anyway, he was one of a kind, and I'll miss him dearly. Here are some links to videos recorded of him at his best below:













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Thanks, zanonesdelpueblo. I've never seen a web video before (youtube or whatever), but I'm going to make it a point to make it a point to see these. I miss Tom. There was a remembrance in the latest IAJRC Journal. Between that and your post, well, I'm a bit misty eyed. But in a good way.

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