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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Gave the tribute below to my dad on May 10, 2006, when he was quite ill. He died a month later.

Today, May 12th would have been his 92nd birthday. It's OK that he's gone, but a decade somehow needs to be marked. A historian found a recording of my musician father playing with some friends and colleagues, and I've saved it for the last few months for today. Seems like a good idea.

Click on "read more" below the pic.

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Good Stuff I Learned From My Dad, 
David H. Madden
On the Occasion of his 82nd Birthday

May 12, 2006


I learned most of what I know about jazz. I learned to know the sounds of Chick Corea, Art Tatum, Cannonball Adderley, and dozens of others, and how to identify them within just a few bars of a solo.

I learned that it’s OK to laugh at jokes that are beneath our refined tastes.

I learned that people will insist on shortening two syllable names to one syllable, and that we will find it annoying, and that they will insist on doing so anyway.

I learned that middle initials have an inherent charm in one’s name.

I learned to be kind to animals.

I learned to listen, sitting still, for long amounts of time.

I learned that it’s OK not to talk all the time: much of what is most important in being with people is unspoken.

I learned the taste of good coffee, the first cup of which my dad made for me at a rehearsal, heavily doctored for a child of eight with cream and sugar – I felt oh-so-grownup.

I learned to respect others' abilities, from a good drummer, to a theater technician, to a cleaning person.

I learned about Thomas Wolfe, and the perverse glee of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

I learned that chocolate milk and See’s Candy are great pleasures in life, and that apparently other people enjoy these things in moderation.

I learned the sweet stillness of the world between the wee small hours of two and four in the morning.  Even into my first year of college, I would awake at 2 am, listening for his key in the lock.

I learned that it’s the chef and not the d├ęcor that makes a restaurant or pastry shop.

I learned it’s hard to be a parent, a musician, a man, a human being.

I learned about Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra.

I learned that it’s a good idea to go watch fish spawning, and other utterly useless human endeavors.


I learned that it’s good to tell people you love them, frequently.