(Photo by Richard Phillips)
The Detroit Jazz community mourns the passing of cornetist/trumpeter Tom Saunders who was not only an outstanding musician and entertainer, he also championed great live music for music lovers in Detroit and beyond.
From the Detroit Musicians Entertainment website:
Cornetist Tom Saunders has been the leading figure of Detroit's Dixieland scene for forty years. He played with many great musicians but his "hot/swing style" was a personal jazz sound with the strongest influence from Wild Bill Davison.
Tommy Saunders was born in Detroit, MI on April 21, 1938. When he was seven years old he "borrowed" his brother's cornet and never gave it back. At nine he was playing second comet in his brother's band; at thirteen he had his own group, "The Six Saints of Dixieland". He is one of the nations favorite musicians and he has displayed his great talent at jazz festivals all over the US & Europe. Wild Bill Davidson claimed him as his "illegitimate son", and some of the best of Wild Bill rubbed off on Tommy.
His style of playing was unique. He toured throughout the U.S. and Europe, took Dixieland sound to China and released albums on his own Lorelei label. Tom was honored as the 2002 Sacramento Jazz Jubilee Emperor. When not touring, Tom led his "Detroit Jazz All-Stars" in and around Detroit and appeared as the opening set of the Ford Detroit International Jazz Festival.
Fortunately you can hear the irresistible panache of Tom Saunders through recordings that are still available.
CD Universe carries the complete album as well of individual MP3 tracks from Call of the Wild, sessions recorded in April 0f 1995 with Tom leading the Wild Bill Davison Legacy Band.
PKO Records has two CDs featuring Tom's septet, both recorded in December of 2003 at the Firefly Club in Ann Arbor:
Tom Saunders' Midwest All Stars Live at the Firefly, and Tom Saunders' Midwest All Stars Live at the Firefly Volume 2.
Visitation will be Tuesday, February 16th from 1 - 9pm at the Charles Verheyden Funeral Home, 16300 Mack in Grosse Pointe Park on the corner of Outer Drive. Funeral services will be Wednesday at 1pm, also at Verheyden.
Mr. Saunders passed away Saturday morning at his home at the age of 71.