Jeremy Kanh's Tribute
Everybody at DANSR and Vandoren is saddened by the passing of our friend and inspiration Mark Colby. Mark was the kindest and most supportive person. He was a master with the saxophone as he was a teacher and mentor to so many.
Rest in Peace dear friend, the world will not be the same without you. Thank you for this beautiful portrait, James Korn.
"Mark and I were old friends from University of Miami days. I was over the moon to reconnect with this beautiful man again in Chicago when his name popped up on the Chicago Jazz Festival program. I reached out and got back the loveliest of replies. I was so fortunate to hear him play on a regular basis and more so to call him my dear friend. His kindness, gentle demeanor, big heart and sweet soul drew us all to him. A true Mensch.
It has been said in every way that his musicianship and talent were stellar and I, too, am telling the world. I moved to Colorado in 2012 but we stayed connected and I saw him every visit at Catch 35 in the city. I feel his life force strongly now and know I will always. Sending MUCH LOVE to his family."
"Mark, you are such an inspiration to all us musicians on our journey. It was an honor when you played with our Harper College Jazz Ensemble, I will treasure our conversations on improving my skills and on music in general. God bless you, Mark you are truly one of a kind! Praying for a miracle!" -Nancy Trieb
"Mark, I just heard the news. You were a fantastic teacher and friend to me and so many others. Thank you, so much... for everything. I remember I asked you for advice once and you answered "Look kid, nobody's getting out of this place alive!" I will see you at the next gig." - Andrew Hassel
"Mark, you instilled in me the importance of finding my own sound. You were endlessly encouraging as I searched for it, supportive as I learned how to apply it, and always interested in hearing about where that journey was taking me. I'll always remember sitting around a bonfire with you, Jarod, and my dad, and our trips to Babbitt to continue the quest for the perfect sound.
"Since the first time I heard your playing when I was releasing your album with Origin 12? 13? years ago, I've been a fan - and was always so honored to hear you play, and deeply touched when you'd come out to hear me. Somehow you were never too busy for little people like me and that speaks volumes!" - Chad McCullough
"I’ve been seeing Mark’s face in my head so much the last few days. They say the musician world is like family and it feels that way very much with the regulars I grew up with, Mark being one so dear. He was around my entire life, literally being on a gig with my dad (Streder) as my mom went in to labor, and stopped by the house before they went to the hospital. From my dad’s annual Band Breakfast, and all the days and moments in between, to my years at Elmhurst College and the days beyond, he was there. I’m so thankful my husband and daughter got to meet him, but am sad all my kids won’t be seeing him more and hearing him play as I did growing up. My heart aches to think I won’t be seeing him again... I love you, Mark Colby. You are so missed. You meant more than you knew." -Franny Lefevre
"What an artist! What a gentleman! Mark was someone who ennobled every encounter and made every project fun. A real teacher’s teacher and performer’s performer. And a real mensch. Rest in Peace, Friend." - Lee Kesselman
I didn't have many chances to talk to you, but it was always nice to talk to and play with. Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to play a gig with you outside of the school, but you were always kind and nice to me. Thank you for what you have done to the jazz community and many students. Actually to many people. We appreciate you. RIP." -Hal Tsuchida
"I will miss you tremendously Mark Colby. The world lost yet another beautiful and talented soul. It was an honor to have made music with you."
Among my fond memories of Mark is a recording session that included some of the finest people and musicians that we've known.
RIP, dear friend - I deeply miss and love you."
"Working with Mark Colby has always been an easy dream. He’s a generous man that plays from the heart. Much love and respect."
"One of the best things about going to Midwest was knowing I’d see you and your smiling face. You are kind, caring and our lives are all better for knowing you. Wishing I could give you one more hug and hear you play one more time right now. Sending all of my love to Mark Colby and his family."
"Oh Mark, RIP. Play on!" -Patty Sampson
"Great player; great person; cool dude; RIP my man." -Keith Stewart
"Loving thoughts and prayers to a talented and giving man GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS MARK!" -Mickey Carroll
Thank you Mark. It was an honor and a privilege to know you, learn from you, and laugh with you. I’m glad you’re at peace now. No more pain! So much gratitude..... Thank you!! -Brent Griffin Jr
You leave us with a ton of friends and love and fond memories. Sorry to see you go. Godspeed to the next life. -Jeff Holck
"You have made such a mark in all of our lives and in the world. Your immense love for your family and friends, your enormous talent, your humor and wit. So many amazing memories to cherish. These are from one of mom’s photo collages (they always had the most pictures of you because you are her special, beloved baby brother). I love you."
"Mark, I know I didn’t know you when this photo was taken, but I loved finding it in the files at the Showcase. My thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time. I always smiled knowing when you were coming to the Showcase. You are part a wonderful group of people that has helped this place feel like the home it is. Thank you for that. It won’t be quite the same without you."
"Thinking of you & sending love. Finally found this picture and wanted to post it. It's one of my favorite shots from back in those days. I'm guessing you have this one, but wanted to put it up for everyone to see. Thanks Mark, my dear friend & brother."
Hey Mark. Remember when we met at the Kraft macaroni recording session at CRC in '97? I was still in high school and you were so supportive to me. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was so impressed with you and you've helped to guide me along my path since then. I love you and want to thank you for everything--all the jokes on and off the bandstand, showing me what style on the tenor really is, and your humanity.
"Sending all the love and support in the world my friend ."
"Sending respect and support. Known Mark Colby since I was a baby brought along that he and my father Gary King recorded and toured together with Maynard Ferguson and Bob James." -Kinyatta King
"Mark, I just picked up my first private saxophone student in about 15 years. He listens, practices, takes notes, and has a beautiful tone (Mayo Tiana got him started, then passed him on to me). In our first lesson, I told him about you and the profound impact you had on my life and on the lives of so many other musicians here in Chicagoland, and beyond.
When you and I last met, at the 2018 Vandoren studio holiday, you looked me in the eye and asked me if I was sure I that I wanted to become a teacher. I didn’t have a good answer for you then, but I do now: CANNONBALL ADDERLEY WAS A BAND DIRECTOR, TOO!
"I've not been on Facebook for quite some time and unfortunately just saw the news. Although I'm out of the circuit my love for Mark as a dear friend never left. Overcome with sadness. This hurts so deeply and I'm so very sorry. So many stories that I'll always remember. Rest in peace Mark." -Ed St. Peter
"Colby came by the house after a gig with Streder at the Holiday Inn Mart on September 21st, 1985. He had come over to pick up a tape of a prize fight between Michael Spinx and Larry Holmes that I had recorded for him because he didn't subscribe to that channel. So there I was, in labor with Franny, my parents had just come over to watch Emily, my husband Mark and I were about to leave for the hospital, with dear Mark Colby in the midst of all of this getting his tape of the fight. Franny was born 11 hours later. Good times." -Patricia Skrysak Streder
"My sincere condolences to the Colby family. Mark was a wonderfully kind and giving man who touched the lives of so many. My partner Thomas Kini played and recorded with Mark often and I know how much he loved it. I hope that you can find some comfort in knowing how many people loved Mark. You have my sincere condolences." -Sonya Walker
"My sincerest condolences to the Colby Family. I first saw Mark perform with Maynard Ferguson at Montebello High School in 1978 just after the Conquistador Album was released. His Tenor playing was a big impact to my switching to the same instrument. He helped shape so many of us we will always be grateful for him. Thank you for sharing him with all of us." -Patricio Beltrán Saxofonista
"Farewell, Mark. I will always treasure your kindness, musicianship, and sharing a stage with you. Rest In Peace." -Greg Helton
"On behalf of the entire Conn-Selmer family, I would like to express our sincere condolences to Mark's family and friends. We are saddened beyond measure to come to realize that one of our most loyal and gifted artists has just left this planet. Mark was a Selmer artist for years and supported the brand with all his heart and skills.
"I'm very sad to hear about this. I'm grateful for the time I was able to share with you. A truly kind, fun and considerate soul... You will not be forgotten. R.I.P. Mark." -Rocky Yera
"I have no words. I’m devastated. Rest In Peace noble and gentle soul. Your tone, your phrasing, says everything of who you’ve always been inside." -Daniela Ionescu Bisenius
"Thank you Mark Colby for the many things you gave freely of in our lessons- your deep love and enthusiasm for the music, your humor, honesty, and humility. I still clearly remember our conversations about Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt, Dexter Gordon and Stan Getz, Max Roach and Steve Gadd. I remember and treasure every compliment and suggestion three decades later. You encouraged me to be myself, to figure out my own path, and made me feel like my contribution was meaningful before I had any clue what I was doing. You were also unfailingly honest- often hilariously so- about the music business, and your observations both helped prepare me and still give me some perspective when things (inevitably) go wrong. In those lessons you had a real gift for perceptive, insightful criticism- of my playing, of something we were checking out, or even turned on yourself- that was never unkind, just real, and again tempered by humor and compassion. I hope I can give those same gifts to my students, and I hope you are resting comfortably at home with your family. Best wishes from ours." -Geof Bradfield
"You had to pick now, huh? I’ve been commenting, liking, loving...even using the caring emoji...but I’m sad. Mark Colby, you are one of my musical parents. I learned how to play from you. Hell, I bought your father in law’s tenor from you! (That Horn was a MF btw and I still kick myself about selling it). Most of all, I learned how to be a professional musician from you.
Next day at the trade show you came up to me and asked why I didn’t play the gig. I threw out some nonsensical bullshit about not playing much anymore and you game me the look and said the following, verbatim: ‘Just because you don’t, doesn’t mean you can’t!’