Saturday, January 31, 2004

In Memoriam: Frank Mantooth (1947-2004)

I came home today to the shocking news that Frank Mantooth passed away this yesterday morning of a heart attack at his home in Garden City, Kansas. Frank was an eleven-time Grammy-nominated pianist, composer and arranger, as well as the guest artist for our college jazz festival last year and the newest member of the Texas All-Star Jazz Camp faculty. Frank was also a graduate of the University of North Texas and a fraternity brother of mine, being an alumnus of the Gamma Theta Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

I had only gotten to know Frank in the past year, but it was definitely a pleasure getting to work with him. When he comped behind a soloist in our faculty combo at the jazz festival, it was like hearing one of his arrangements in real time. And even though he was by far the best-known member of our camp faculty, he was also humble and unassuming--definitely "one of the guys."

I can't think of anything else to write at the moment; I'm still too stunned. The man himself will be sorely missed; at least he lives on through his hundreds of compositions and arrangements.

UPDATE: A series of articles from the Garden City paper are now available on Frank's website.