Chuck and Kathy Brantigan with Judy and Jack Fredericksen in 2004. Denver Brass will perform To Jack with Love, Feb. 14.
The scene was Mercury Café on June 9, 2014. Hundreds of people filled the dance hall to pay their respects to Jack Fredericksen, one of Denver’s most celebrated and loved musicians, who passed away on May 24, 2014. These were very special people – including his loving wife Judy and children Kim, Karen, Julie, Jill and Kevin – all filling the room with love, music, laughter and stories. Generations of professional musicians, former students, fellow educators and fun loving friends – many who had not seen each other for years and sometimes decades – were summoned by their respect for Jack, his charisma and friendship.
The evening’s music, performed by three of his favorite past times: The Denver Brass, Hot Tomatoes and Kantorei (Denver’s chamber choir), provided a panorama of sounds to lift the spirits of all who came to celebrate the amazing life of Jack Fredericksen.
This man was loved and revered by so many for so long that this evening became an evening of To Jack, with Love. This theme became the title of the upcoming Denver Brass concert on Feb. 15. The concert will be another opportunity for all of Denver to celebrate this wonderful man with an evening of Denver Brass and Hot Tomatoes performing together on many of Jack’s toe-tapping favorites.
Jack was a music educator in the Denver Public Schools for 34 years. His legacy as an educator is unparalleled. He affected and inspired thousands of lives, many of whom are music educators and professional musicians today. His composition and arranging skills were extraordinary and his musical ears, as musicians say, were “so keen, he could hear grass grow.”
Jack graced many stages throughout his career as a performer on saxophone, clarinet and flute. He always looked forward to playing in his beloved, Hot Tomatoes Dance Orchestra.
As devoted as he was to his music, however, nothing compared to his love and devotion to his wife,
Judy. The two were inseparable and, as Judy puts it, “we are truly soul mates.” They did everything together from the mundane grocery shopping to travel to their labor of love for the Hot Tomatoes. Judy managed the dance orchestra and Jack played, composed and arranged for it. So you might say that this concert is also, “For Judy, with Love.”
The collaboration between The Denver Brass and Hot Tomatoes started in 1994 when the founder of the Denver Brass, Kathy Brantigan, wanted to do a New Orleans style concert. During a brainstorming session, the idea came up that the best way to portray New Orleans musically would be for the Denver Brass to branch out and collaborate with a more authentic jazz group. The collaboration with Hot Tomatoes became the first of many that the Denver Brass would pursue, with all varieties of groups, in the future.
After the first year, there were many more collaborations between Hot Tomatoes and Denver Brass. Jack would write dozens more arrangements both for the combined groups and for Denver Brass alone. By 2004, Jack and Judy were The Denver Brass’s greatest groupies and Jack was the Denver Brass’ most prolific arranger of jazz favorites. Because of their tremendous support and contributions to the success of The Denver Brass, they were inducted into the Denver Brass Hall of Fame as the second members following only conductor, Kenneth Singleton.
So put on your dancing shoes and dance, don’t walk, to this tribute to one of Denver’s most talented and beloved musicians. This one’s for you, Jack.
2018 All Rights Reserved. Villager Publishing |