Mike, thanks for these remarks, and my condolances go out to youThis is one of the worst days of my life. Gerry, besides being a incredible musician, role model and colleague, was an old family friend. He and my uncle were roommates in college, and he knew my folks before they even knew each other. Growing up in Rochester, he was the first real saxophone player i ever heard, and the reason i chose the tenor in 5th grade was because of him. I got to work with him several times on bass, and every time he introduced me, he'd say my name and then "I knew him before he was born". Another friend of mine was also on the plane, a guitar player named Coleman Mellet. Coleman was a great musician, and a beautiful human being, and he was younger than me, which is really freaking me out right now. He was married to a fantastic singer Jeanie Bryson, and i was lucky enough to work with both of them a lot. My mother just said to me, "If you live long enough, you'll see just about everything". True, but it's not making me feel any better.
as well as it's clear this is having an even more personal impact, on you .
I didn't realize that Coleman was married to Jeanie Bryson,either .
Damn this is just really bad, all-around ..
Gerry will missed. He was an early inspiration to me on flute and saxophone. I was lucky enough to play next to him at the 1973 Monterey Jazz Festival in an orchestra conducted by Chuck Mangione. He was just amazing on the alto flute. He was a very expressive and sensitive player. --Garrett
Mr. Neiwood was incredible this past summer with C.M. when they played at our local annual jazz festival. I had to stand right up front and watch this master at work.
It is a tremendous loss to the sax community.
Coleman Mellet was part of C.M. band and was on the plane too. R.I.P.
My heart goes out to all the families who are affected by this tragedy.
I'm at a loss for words. I've had the pleasure of playing with Gerry numerous times - no one can touch his soprano sound, as far as I'm concerned. A monster musician, and a great human being.
My prayers are with Adam, Kay, and the rest of the the family.
One of the greats, so tragic.
Great article here about his musical life......
It was crushing to hear the sad news about Gerry Niewood. I feel like a part of my childhood has died. I played along with Land of Make Believe and Bellavia at least a thousand times as a young sax player and I have to say I totally absorbed the feeling, soul and spirit of Gerry. He's a part of me th sax player to this day and forever. Those records were so important to my development as a player, but also to my whole family. My Dad, also a sax player and my brother who's a drummer still talk about those records and Gerry's greatness to this day.
I met him one time, as a high schooler in the 80's when Gerry auditioned me and selected me for the McDonald's High School Band. He was so cool, humble and reassuringly calming that I think it helped me have a great audition that day. He seemed truly shocked when I got up the courage to mumble "uhm, are you Gerry Niewood," afterward and that I'd recognized him at the audition. But for me at that time, it was honestly like meeting Mick Jagger. I even slyly inserted a very signature Gerry Neiwood lick I stole from the Land Of Make Believe solo during the improv portion of that audition, which he may have noticed because I saw him smile. That lick still comes out every now and then to this day.
I regret that as an adult I'll never be able to relate that story to him. Our paths unfortunately had never crossed again, but I had been hoping that maybe some day I would be able to contact him to thank him for his great inspirational playing, and for giving me an opportunity of a lifetime. I wish I would have tried a little harder.
May he rest in peace, and may God give his family the strength to carry on.
I heard about the accident, but all I heard was there were 'musicians' aboard on NPR.
My condolences to the Niewoods.
Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
Sax player theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- .010" at the tip)
"Free jazz is the vegemite of the musical world. It's an acquired taste."-J. Jacques
Just read the terrible news. I remember as a kid hearing Gerry's solo on "Feels So Good" and being blown away by the way the lines just flowed into each other so gracefully, and his beautiful, relaxed style on that cut . Probably the first exposure to jazz playing for many people.
Condolences to Gerry's family, friends and colleagues.
Sad and terrible, my thoughts and prayers to the 49 dead and their families.
So sorry for your loss Adam.
Last edited by saxphil; 02-16-2009 at 02:50 AM.
My wife, whose ears I trust, said that my sound is much fuller, richer, more powerful and resonant on this set up.
... but really folks... my wife said, " It sounds like a saxophone ".
I too liked playing along w/ Gerry's recordings particularly "you are the music" and "Come the weekend " on his share my dream DMP CD on my soprano. And I love playing along w/ my Tenor on Chuck Mangione's Greatest hits CD. I listened to his awesome alto sax solo on "Angelica" from the Gerry Mulligan's Walk on the Water CD w/ tears in my eyes. He will be sorely missed.
It's great when your kids play sax!!!!More and more Saxophones!!!!All types and manufacturers!!!!
I'm mostly a lurker here... (to be honest, I'm a trumpet player, but I've got a beautiful 6m alto that I play when the mood is right...) but when I read the sad news, this is the first place I turned... The sax community, no... the world... has lost a wonderful example of musicianship and class.
Condolences to all who knew Gerry and who will feel his loss the most.
A real tragedy....it's bad enough that we are losing our "GREAT ONES" through old age.....this is so sad.
I'm speechless, why, I don't know.
I loved his playing.
My heart goes out to Adam and the family and friends.
If you can't dazzle them with brilliance...then baffle 'em with bullsh*t.
Dude, Support this Forum.
That's terrible about Mr. Niewood--and I feel just as bad for Coleman Mellett and his family. I play the sax, but feel it's a sad day when any jazz musician dies.
And then there are all the othes who died as a result of that flight. May they all rest in peace.
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"Mastering the Dominant Bebop Scale-Book 2"
"Devastating Minor Lines for Jazz & Funk Soloing"
"Mastering Major Diatonic Patterns"
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"Mastering the Major Bebop Scale & Sound"
"Best Major and Minor II-V-I Patterns"
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Tenor and Alto Mouthpiece sound clips on my website at
We are all deeply saddened by the loss of Gerry Niewood, Coleman Mellett, all the passengers and crew on flight 3407, and the poor innocent man who died in his own home. It is tragic and surreal.
The outpouring of phone calls, emails, text-messages etc is truly overwhelming. All I can say is, it's too bad Gerry isn't around to witness the impact he made on all of you.
I plan on getting back to all of you personally – but please understand the need to hunker-down with my family. I'm sure you all understand...
That said - Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, funny stories/anecdotes… etc. None of it goes overlooked or unappreciated.
I do not want anyone to feel badly or second guess reaching out - if you haven't heard back - It's simply b/c I'm trying to deal with the list of wierd things... For example - trying to get my father's car out of the Airport parking without a claim ticket..? No one thinks they will have to drive through 2 parking lots full of at least 4000 cars looking for their Dad's car...
I simply in the middle of scrambling to get out the door forgot my cell phone - which is sitting in my kitchen, ringing off the hook. As I said - I will get back to everyone...
This is all so hard to process – lots of pieces to pick up.
The memorial service is being planned (in addition a separate performance with music) – although nothing finalized as yet. News will go out as soon as we know more.
Thank you all for your support.
Sincerely on behalf of the whole Niewood family...