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Producer and jazz advocateby Patricia Myers
Copyright © 2005 Patricia Myers
Al Singer, 76, a tireless jazz advocate and event producer, died, March 3, 2005, in Phoenix, AZ, from complications of a rare blood condition.
Al was responsible for measurably expanding the performances of live jazz in the Phoenix metropolitan area. His mission in life, he stated at that time, was “to enrich lives and cultures by raising the profile of jazz in Arizona.” His dedication, enthusiasm and energy enhanced the lives of countless jazz fans.
Al was a member of the International Association for Jazz Education, attending that organization’s annual conferences around the U.S. He also was the first person to be elected simultaneously to the boards of both Jazz in Arizona Inc. (Jazz in AZ) and the Arizona Classic Jazz Society. He was a longtime member of the Michigan Jazz Society.
In connection with JAM Month, he produced ”Mercy! Mercy! Mercy!” at a club in Phoenix to raise $4,000 for the Jazz Foundation of America’s project that assists elderly or ailing jazz musicians. He also was a key worker for Al “Fab” Grey Endowed Scholarship Tribute Concerts in 2004-05 to gain funds for a trombone scholarship at Mesa Community College.
Al was an event producer and band manager during college and after in his native Michigan. After graduating from Michigan State College, he went to New York City in the summer of 1948 to hear jazz and attend the New School of Social Research. Returning to Bay City, he managed jazz bands and produced jazz concerts there and in Detroit. In 1957, he began a career in the wholesale shoe industry, first as a traveling sales rep, then national sales manager. He semi-retired in 1990, relocating to Carefree, AZ. His first Phoenix-area jazz activity was booking gigs for tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby, an Arizona State University graduate who now lives and performs in New York City.
The Singer family suggests memorial donations to: Jazz In Arizona, P.O. Box 9651, Scottsdale AZ 85252-9651; KJZZ Radio, 2323 W. 14th St., 4th floor, Tempe, AZ, 85281; Arizona Classic Jazz Society, PMB 204, 9666 E. Riggs Road, #114, Sun Lakes, AZ 85248.
Patricia Myers is a jazz critic and photographer for national and international publications, and websites including AllAboutJazz.com.