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RIP Tom Olin


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It is my very sad duty to report the death this past Thursday of NYC area multi-reed player Tom Olin. A spry 68, and riding his bicycle everywhere, Tom came through prostate removal surgery quite well. Then an unrelated blood clot took him. Tom Olin is best remembered by jazz listeners for his tenure with Illinois Jacquet's big band. In truth, he played thousands of gigs of every stripe: Dixieland and Swing, Broadway subs, club dates, sax quartets (which he composed and arranged for), on and on. I met Tom back in 1980, and we became fast friends. He got me into the very helpful Marshall Brown workshop. We played in myriad situations, gigging and recording, or just practicing. Tom owned a house with wife Janet in Bedford-Stuyversant, Brooklyn. We would spend hours on the phone dishing about the NY scene, and taking down the stuffed shirts. He was gentle, funny, and flakey in the best possible way, with his own lovable way of self-expression. Since hearing the horrible news yeaterday I have been inconsolable4--shaking, and with a tight stomach. Yes, I've taken it badly. Please keep a good thought for this gentlest of men...

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  • 1 month later...

There was a beautiful memorial for Tom yesterday at Local 802 (AF of Musicians), with a large turnout. Tom's charming, sweet, and humorous arrangements for sax quartet and clarinet quintet were performed. Memories were shared. I got to meet Tom's brothers and 91-year-old mother---in from Charlottesville, Va. for the event. There was so much love in the room that everyone's spirits were lifted, especially those of Tom's family and wife, Janet. Made me very happy. Rest well, Tom. You are loved...

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