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Forum Contributor 2013-2019
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Leonard was the founder and soul of the John Coltrane Memorial Concert series, which has run for 40 years, for most of its run at Northeastern University. I was on the Northeastern faculty (not in music) for many years, and came to know Leonard. He had a very special place in his heart for John Coltrane, and even taught a course called (what else?) "Coltrane." What has always amazed me about the JCM concert was that they would fill all 2500 seats every year, and his was not your average mainstream jazz gig.

How I first met Leonard is kind of a funny story, and gets at the soul of the man. This was well before I knew about Leonard, the JCM concert, or Leonard's connection to it. I did know the head of the music dept., and he gave me the code to the practice room door locks so I could sneak over during the day and get some practice time in. I was playing one day and heard a knock at the door. I opened it to face a tall man that I did not know. He looked at me for a moment, and then said,

"Sorry. I heard you playing, and thought you were someone else."

I responded, "Who? John Coltrane?"

He stared at me quietly for a moment, and then said in a low, serious voice,

"That's cold, man. John's gone." He then turned around and slowly walked down the hall.

When I found out who he was, I assumed I would be banished from the practice rooms for life. But we ended up having some very interesting conversations about jazz. He was a very cool guy, a good sax player, and one of the leading lights illuminating the memory of John Coltrane.

RIP Leonard.
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