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Nostalgia: Honoring Fats Navarro

Who Was Fats Navarro?
This page is devoted to the memory and music of one of jazz's greatest trumpet players -- Theodore "Fats" Navarro. His life was short but his accomplishments in jazz were great and far reaching in their influence on later trumpeters. He, however, is largely forgotten today, partially because he died just prior to the introduction of 12" LPs and the recording of extended pieces that would better showcase his great improvisational brilliance.

Whatever the reasons, I have found very little about his life on the Web, and certainly no centralized collection of information or discography of his body of recorded work until now. Yet his influence is still felt through a succession of later trumpeters including Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard and more recently Roy Hargrove. Some have called him the first hard bop trumpet. In 1982 he was selected for the Downbeat Jazz Hall of Fame.

Perhaps even more to the point is the beauty of his play irrespective of whatever influence he may have had. He played in a classic manner in the sense that he seemed to strive for balance and structure. He practiced constantly and as a result developed a prodigious technique that permitted him to play just about anything he wanted. And happily what he wanted to play invariably showed great musical judgment and elegance while still swinging as much as anyone.

Mission Accomplished!

Thanks to the contributions and support of many, many people, daughter Linda Navarro and this Web page are glad to report that Fats' gravesite is no longer unmarked.

The Headstone Dedication Ceremony took place before about fifty people on September 24, 2002 at Rosehill Cemetery (Section 28, Plot 411) in Linden, NJ. Mayor John Gregorio proclaimed the day as "Fats Navarro Day" in Linden, and the Jazz Alliance International sponsored a reception following the dedication at Amici's Restaurant in Linden. The day concluded with an evening Fats Navarro Tribute concert before a full house at the Jazz Standard in Manhattan.

For a full report on this wonderful day:

This site is maintained by:
Stuart A. Varden, Ed.D.
Ivan G. Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems
Pace University Graduate Center
1 Martine Avenue
White Plains, NY 10606