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Sudhalter, Richard M. (Merrill)

Sudhalter, Richard M. (Merrill), trumpeter, historian, broadcaster. b. Boston, MA, 28 December 1938. d. New York, NY, 19 September, 2008 His father, Albert (1905-75), was a noted alto saxophone virtuoso during the 1920s and '30s. Sister Carol (b. 1943) plays flute, saxophones, professionally. Brother James (b. 1940) plays saxophones avocationally.

Sudhalter grew up in Newton, MA, where he began cornet lessons 1950 after hearing Bix Beiderbecke recording of San. Studied with Fred Berman (1950-51), John Coffey (1952-53), Armando Ghitalla (1954-55). Played widely in Boston area throughout 1950s, usually in company with Newton friends Roger Kellaway and Steve Kuhn, and local standouts Dick Wetmore, Bob Pillsbury, Leroy "Sam" Parkins, Stan Monteiro, Joe Fine, et. al. Through father's music friendships got to know Bobby Hackett, Phil Napoleon, et. al. Sat in at George Wein's Boston clubs (Storyville, Mahogany Hall) with Bud Freeman, PeeWee Russell, Vic Dickenson, other major stylists. Oberlin College 1956-60 (b.a. 1960), studying trumpet with Louis Davidson (Cleveland Orchestra), and playing in numerous student and local jazz groups.

After graduation, and a Cape Cod summer engagement with band led by reedman Parkins, Sudhalter moved to Europe. He lived in Germany from 1960-66, first in Munich and then in Frankfurt. He played and socialized with many German jazz musicians, both young (Heinz Schellerer, Hermann Otto, Klaus Wagner, Joe Viera, Joe Haider, Peter Trunk, et. al.) and such older figures as Freddie (or Fritz, wenn ihr wollt) Brocksieper, Hans Van der Sys, Charly Tabor and others. He got to play with countless musicians, touring often and appearing in concert halls, radio and TV studios (he was in the jazz ensemble of the Bayerischen Rundfunk under Pepsi Auer's direction), and Jazzlokalen. Also featured with H Riverboat Seven, Dieter Seifert. Charter member of Bavarian Radio Jazz Ensemble, 1964 (all Munich). From 1964-73 worked as news correspondent and bureau chief with United Press International, covering Central Europe and the Balkans, while maintaining playing, broadcasting and recording schedule. During these years also appeared in concerts and/or on radio with Hackett, Ben Webster, Albert Nicholas, Benny Waters, many British jazz stars, various other Americans abroad; during UK residence also wrote reviews and features for such jazz magazines as Jazz Journal, Storyville, Into Jazz, Crescendo, et. al.,. often under pseudonym "Art Napoleon."

In 1973, Sudhalter collaborated with researcher Philip R. Evans on the Beiderbecke biography Bix: Man and Legend, nominated for a National Book Award and widely hailed as first  jazz biography. 1974-75: organized, ran, was featured with, the New Paul Whiteman Orchestra (London), in concerts, BBC radio, TV, records; other members included Harry Gold, John R.T. Davies, Keith Nichols, Nat Peck, Peter Ind, Jock Cummings, George Elliott, George Hurley. 1975-76: Artistic Manager, Grande Parade du Jazz, Nice, performing with Hackett, R. Braff, J. Venuti, B. Freeman, PeeWee Erwin, D. Cheatham, many others. Late 1975: returned United States, embarking on active playing and writing career. Administrator of New York Jazz Repertory Company, 1976-79; Carnegie Hall concerts honoring Beiderbecke, Hoagy Carmichael, Paul Whiteman, W.C. Handy, Duke Ellington, et. al.; many articles and record sleeve essays; seven-years (1978-85) as jazz critic for the New York Post.  1982: WNYC-TV interview series, In the Key of Jazz; 1980-86: Artistic Director at New York's Vineyard Theatre, producing concerts and Public Radio International series, Vintage Jazz at the Vineyard; frequent recording for various labels, including Challenge. 1983-87: membership in the Classic Jazz Quartet (with D. Wellstood, M. Grosz, J. Muranyi); 1979-present: organized and performed with Hoagy's Children and Hoagy on My Mind touring shows (with Barbara Lea & Bob Dorough, among others); 1981: Musical Director, Hoagy, Bix, and Wolfgang Beethoven Bunkhaus (Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles); frequent concert tours in Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, UK. Studied trumpet NYC with Jim Maxwell (1977-79), Carmine Caruso (1980-81); played in Loren Schoenberg big band.

He taught courses in jazz, popular music and social history at Brown University, Oberlin College, and the 92nd Street "Y" in New York. Appointed in 2001 to faculty of Five Towns College, Dix Hills, NY, as Director of Jazz Studies and Associate Professor of Music. As Artistic Director for jazz with sponsorship organization The Arts in Southold Town, he directed the annual North Fork Jazz Festival on Eastern Long Island, near his home in Southold.

Sudhalter died from pneumonia on September 19, 2008. He is survived by two daughters, Kimberley (b. Germany, 1964), Los Angeles and Adrian (b. London, 1967), Cambridge, Mass.

Sudhalter and Son, vol. 1 (1967); Sudhalter and Son, vol. 2 (1968); The Tuesday Band (1968); New Paul Whiteman Orchestra: The New Paul Whiteman Orchestra (1974), The Legendary QE Hall Concert (1975);Ruth Warrick with Dick Sudhalter's Big Band: Phoebe Tyler Regrets (1980); Dick Sudhalter and His "Friends With Pleasure" (1981); Hoagy's Children: A Carmichael Anthology.  (Vols I & II)  (1981,85, 92); Dick Sudhalter and Connie Jones: Get Out & Get Under the Moon (1989); Live at Alexanderplatz! (1992); After Awhile (1994); Melodies Heard, Melodies Sweet: Dick Sudhalter Toasts the Songwriter-Jazzmen (1999); Live at Brae Burn: A Newton Jazz Reunion (1999); Stardust Melody: Beloved and Rare Songs of Hoagy Carmichael (2001)
As sideperson:
Ronny Whyte: I Love a Piano (1976); Lea, Sherman, Schoenberg, et al: Getting Some Fun Out of Life (1978); Dick Hyman: Don't Give the Name a Bad Place (1978); Anita Ellis & Larry Kert: Shadows (1979); Max Morath: Max Morath in Jazz Country (1979); Peter Dean: Where Did All the Magic Go? (1981); Larry Elgart: Hooked on Swing, vols I & II (1982-83); The Complete Classic Jazz Quartet (1983-85); Loren Schoenberg's Big Band: That's the Way It Goes (1984); Peggy King: Oh What a Memory We Made Tonight! (1984); Larry Carr: Fit As a Fiddle (1986); Daryl Sherman: She's a Great, Great Girl (1986); Loren Schoenberg's Big Band: Time Waits for No One (1987), Manhattan Work Song (1992); Tom Saunders' Wild Bill Davison All-Stars: Exactly Like You (1995); Alex Pangman: They Say (1999), Can't Stop Me From Dreamin' (2000); Lou Lanza: Shadows and Echoes (2000); Jeff Healey: Among Friends (2001)

Films and broadcasts:
Film soundtracks include Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo, Radio Days, Broadway Danny Rose. Also heard in The Shooting Party, Rambling Rose, others. Videos include BBC radio and TV specials (incl. New Paul Whiteman Orchestra, 1975), WNET Bix Beiderbecke special, 1975. Onscreen commentary: Ken Burns Jazz (PBS), Walk On By (BBC-TV), various others; commentator appearances All Things Considered, Fresh Air, Morning Edition (NPR), BBC radio specials on Carmichael, Paul Whiteman, et. al..

Press: Innumerable features, interviews and reviews, spanning four decades 1960-present.
A chapter on Sudhalter's career appears in Chip Deffaa's Traditionalists and Revivalists in Jazz (Scarecrow, 1993).
Bix - Man And Legend Quartet (1974) (co-author).
Lost Chords: White Musicians and Their Contribution to Jazz, 1915-1945 (N.Y., 1999)
Stardust Melody: The Life and Music of Hoagy Carmichael (2002)

Sudhalter's Lost Chords: White Musicians and Their Contributions to Jazz, 1915-45, winner of an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Special Citation for Excellence and nominated as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Grammy in 1982 for notes to Bunny Berigan release in Time-Life Giants of Jazz series. Grammy nominations for Hoagy Carmichael Legendary Performers LP (1979), Lester Young Giants of Jazz set (1980); Cole Porter boxed CD set (Indiana Historical Society, 1992).

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