saxophonist Bob Kindred died August 15th in Nashville, Tennessee. He
was 76. Kindred was well known in the Ketchikan jazz community,
performing at First City Players Jazz and Cabaret Festival for more than
a dozen years. Several Ketchikanites who knew Kindred shared their
memories of him.
Kindred was best known as a tenor saxophone player, but his first
instrument was the clarinet. His father did not want him to pursue a
career in music, so Kindred studied business and had a successful
business career. At the age of 30, he heard Phil Woods in concert and
decided to take up playing again. He studied with Woods for several
years. At a time when the popularity of big band music was fading,
Kindred was able to succeed, playing with the Glenn Miller and Woody
Herman tribute bands, among others.
the early ‘90s, local theater group, First City Players, has held jazz
and cabaret workshops. Elizabeth Nelson, Artistic Director of First City
Players, says Anne Phillips was brought in about 1999 or 2000 to
conduct vocal workshops. Phillips was married to Kindred at the time,
and suggested he come the next year to conduct instrumental workshops.
Nelson says the instrumental workshops lasted only a few years, but
Kindred continued to return, backing vocalists.
was an astounding thing to listen to. When he was at his best, to sing
with him, it was really having a conversation. It was just a musical
conversation and he would listen to every single way you would inflect a
lyric and he could answer that back sensitively. Really just beautiful
in that way.”
Nelson says during jazz and cabaret week, guest artists visit the local elementary schools.
could be so much fun. He could make the kids laugh. The last day, when
we do the concert for the school, we always bring our guest artists in,
so Bob would be part of that, and would just make the kids giggle with
the sounds he could make through his saxophone and then they would just
be rapt when he would play.”
2010, guest artists Bob Kindred, Anne Phillips, Paul Meyers and Matt
Perri were recognized as honorary citizens of Ketchikan for their work
in the schools and contributions to the jazz community. The proclamation
was signed by City Mayor Lew Williams III.
saxophonist Lynn Caldwell recalls first meeting Kindred. Caldwell was
in his garage playing when there was a knock on the door at about 9 pm.
A copy of the proclamation honoring Jazz and Cabaret Week and guest artists.
said, ‘I heard some baritone sax in here. Are you kidding me?’ Those
were his exact words. ‘Are you kidding me?’ He was truly blown away by
the fact that he comes to Ketchikan, he’s living right there, no clue at
all there was even a baritone sax player in town.”
was staying at a bed and breakfast across the street and had heard
Caldwell playing. They became fast friends and played together often,
Kindred on the tenor saxophone, and Caldwell on the baritone. Caldwell
says he had never played with a professional musician before, and
learned a lot from Kindred.
taught me so much about the instrument – about mouth pieces, about
reeds, about breath control. He couldn’t practice for me, and I was
still being lazy about learning scales and chords, but it really
improved my playing. Particularly the sound. That’s all I really cared
about anyway. I loved the sound of the baritone.”
says Kindred had cancer about 20 years ago and wasn’t expected to live
more than 10 years. He says Kindred had many other health issues, made
worse by a drinking problem and bad habits.
didn’t complain much. A lot of people didn’t even know those things
about him. But it seems like it was such a waste for this great man to
not be able to make more of a contribution than he was by getting his
life under control.”
player Dale Curtis met Bob Kindred and Anne Phillips at the Fairbanks
Summer Arts Festival. When they came to Ketchikan, Curtis played with
Kindred in the Jazz and Cabaret Festival band. They also would just get
together to play.
been playing my whole life, and I’ve got a lot of professional
experience, and I know a lot of tunes, and so does he. We’d just get
together and play these tunes that we both know, and we both had such a
similar style. For me it was really easy, phrasing, and I kind of knew
what he was going to do. It made it easy.”
2011, Curtis recorded an album “Bridge to Nowhere,” at Bennett Studios
in New Jersey. The members of the Dale Curtis Quintet were Curtis,
guitarist Paul Meyers, bass player Christian Fabian, drummer Ed
Littlefield, and Kindred on saxophone and clarinet.
asked me if he could do this song called ‘Tenderly’ by himself. So I
let him do that and I’m glad I did because it’s just amazing, his
approach to that. Such a beautiful player and beautiful guy. He will be
“He was always so gracious and so kind to other musicians. A good man.”
lived in New York for many years but moved to Nashville about two years
ago. Curtis says he spoke with Kindred about a month ago and, despite
his health problems, Kindred continued playing and was still booking