Jazz Institute of Chicago

David X. Young RIP

David X. Young RIP
by Bob Brookmeyer

[Painter and Loft Jazz impresario, David X. Young (1930-2001), died May 22 in New York City.]

We lost a gifted painter and a friend of jazz last night. For those of you under 50, you wouldn't likely have been present at the justly famed "Loft Sessions"—now in CD and booklet form.

"Famed" didn't mean shit to us then—it was a wonderful place to play together, stay all night and be ourselves—all of this in the middle of the work of a genuine artist; one who never really got his good public acclaim, but—as is said—if he had spent more time in the Cedar Tavern with the painters instead of hanging and listening in jazz clubs, it might have been different. Maybe not.

When Pop Art arrived in the 1960s, Dave pretty well felt that "that was that"—no room for real work with all the bullshit "artists" (in music AND "art"). He began making films and going to Haiti a lot. He still painted. I have three from 1965, some from recent times, and only wish I had known he was leaving so quickly that a proper "good-bye" could be said. This is it, I guess, my friend. You were my friend and I am glad of it.

You gave me eyes to go with my ears—you showed me how an abstract painter has to learn his craft, step by step and it ain't easy—anymore than music, rightly done. You were my club partner, too broke yourself to go, but then I was making money enough so go we did go—to everything.

Money and that "well known" stuff was in its proper place in those days—a few made it big but most of us were okay in survival mode. My favorites were Jimmy Raney, Jim Hall, Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh—two out of four made the big time, two were not so lucky. All equally brilliant and necessary. Konitz, Hall, Bill Crow, Ronnie Free, and I are among the living. So far as I know—the rest have died. That will happen if you aren't careful.

It is of no interest to most of you for me to rave on about the brotherhood that was extant then—history is mystery if you were not there. But, believe a truth-teller when I tell you that those times—brilliant, chaotic and fevered—only happen once in an eternity.

David made that possible and for that, his work and his genial, wonderful Boston accent and all of the things surrounding him, I am grateful. I also am as near to tears as I have been in a long time. Farewell, and go to someplace where they have enough sense to take good care of you. They sure didn't here.

Copyright ©2003. All rights reserved.

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