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Bill Zaccagni, Philadelphia area saxophonist, reed player, composer, arranger, bandleader and teacher died early this morning after a long struggle with his health. He leaves behind a legacy of thousands of students, was a mentor to many, and a friend to all of us here at UArts. Bill loved his students and loved music passionately. He was also one of the finest woodwind players most of us have ever heard, and inspired me to begin composing in jazz and to start doubling. I had Bill for two classes and had known him through my teacher for many years. A real gentleman and a bandleader with conviction and mastery sufficient to inspire all of us to stretch our boundaries and do the music justice.

My man, Bill: I'll miss you.
 

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I'm in shock - Bill was my flute and clarinet teacher while I was a student at UArts, as well as my arranging teacher. I was in his big band for three years, and spent a lot of time with him in general. I kept in touch with him since moving out of the Philly area.

Bill was not only an amazing musician, but a true mentor and friend.
 

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I first met Bill back in 1966. March 25th, to be exact. I can pinpoint the date because as I type this, I'm looking at the program from the old Bands of Tomorrow Contest. It was held at the old Hotel Philadelphia, on the corner of Broad and Vine streets. It was torn down many years ago.

Bill played baritone saxophone for the Northeast Catholic High School big band that day, and I played the same intrument for the Edgewood Regional High agregation. So Bill started his career as a bari player. I took a lot of pride in my skill and ability to handle the big horn back then, and it was great to hear Bill. Most high school bari players were converted alto or tenor players who couldn't handle the bottom of the horn too well. But Bill had his sound together. I could tell that he had much pride in his ability, he was a great player even at this early date.

As our careers progressed into the actual bands of tomorrow that the contest tittle referred to, I switched to the alto as my primary instrument, but Bill stayed "home", on the bari. But he would refer to some trait, or idiosyncratic characteristic relating to the baritone, and he would look at me and say something like, "Julian knows what the baritone is like", referring to those early days when we were both bari players.

Bill was a great musician, but he was a greater human being, a kind and gentle soul. The world of music, of musicians and saxophone players is less, missing some humanity, with the passing of Bill Zaccagni. Those of us who knew him, loved him, are going to have to try to pull his slack, be extra kind and caring, the way that Bill was. And we will have to put the same commitment to quality in the music that he did.

He was a great guy. I'm going to miss him.
 

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I'm not a saxophone player but only learned last night that Bill had died. Bill and I went to Temple together back in 1967 and I would give him a call every two years or so just to keep in touch. (I moved to the Netherlands 12 years ago.) I did a google search after learning of his death and wanted to express my sympathies to those who worked with him - that's how I wound up here.

He was a great guy in college and everyone I know liked him. I respected him because he was one of the few of us from those days who remained an active player. He will be missed.

Dave Horne
 

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Took lessons from Bill back in the 80's. I would go to his home in Port Richmond. He would sit there surrounded by saxophones in a big chair and just listen. After thinking I had just nailed my lesson Bill would start with , let's just say " constructive criticism":). He was a nice guy and he taught me alot. Very sorry to hear of his passing.
 

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Today, 9 March 2009, would be Bill's 59th birthday. (I have Bill's birthday entered in Outlook.)

I'm thinking of him today and will have a drink later this evening to his memory.
 

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Tomorrow would have been Bill's 60th birthday. I have his birthday in my Outlook calendar and thought it a good idea to keep his memory alive over here.

He died nearly three years ago at the age of 57. Very sad.
 

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I meant to post here yesterday to keep the memory of Bill alive.

Yesterday would have been his 62th birthday. Bill died May 10th 2007.

It would be great if students of Bill added comments.
 

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I met Bill while I was at UARTS for my undergrad. He was an amazing teacher; great man. It was a blessing to be around such a major force in education, and sax playing. His knowledge was truly far reaching and always relevant to today's world. I'll never forget him.
 
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