With the new year dawning and new beginnings, I am very sad to report an all too early ending.
Craig Magill - educator, jazz enthuasist, friend and host to numerous visiting and local musicians, tireless supporter, former president and volunteer of the EJS and Yardbird Suite - musician, bon vivant, fashion plate and world traveller, passed away in New York this week, after a fall onto an icy sidewalk outside a jazz venue. I had received an email before Christmas from Craig and Wendy (his wife) detailing their extensive travel itinerary for 2010 including a trip to Greece. Craig had bravely battled and won against the big C, coming through with flying colours...although I'm sure he would have used some hep cat, jazz speak to describe it....
There is a memorial service planned in January I understand at the Yardbird...he will be sorely missed, such an integral part of the history of Edmonton's jazz scene for some six decades.
I was thinking of them having dinner in my home, enjoying my vegan cooking immensely, Craig giving some newly discovered performance, then on another visit, going out to the Rex with Craig to hear Kirk MacDonald, who Craig raved about. That same trip he attended the memorial concert for the great Doug Riley.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Wendy and his family, friends and jazz fans. I feel comforted he will be welcomed and appreciated by all the jazz greats who gave gone before him to that big jazz club in the sky.
Thank you Craig for your passion and dedication to the "sound of surprise".