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Mendez Health 60's



 
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50YrComeback
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Joined: 05 Nov 2018
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Location: St. Louis

PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:42 am    Post subject: Mendez Health 60's Reply with quote

One of my biggest disappointments - 1965 or 66 - Mendez scheduled to be guest soloist at the High School Band Concert in East St Louis, IL. I was in 9th grade, listening to the Mendez recordings, etc., getting amped up for the concert, all tickets sold-out. 5 days before the concert, it was cancelled due to a serious health of Mendez. We were led to believe it was potentially a career ending issue. I see he played in the 70's but curious if someone that knows the bio can verify what the issue was.
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't know the issue, if there was one, but I played several concerts with, and went on tour with him, in the early 60s; 1959-1963 to be exact. The only weakness I could see at the time was a fondness for Tequila.
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trpt.hick
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

He developed a bad case of bronchitis that flared up now and then, making breathing very difficult. True, he did take a snort of tequila before each concert to help relax during this time, but he never drank enough to get woozy.

Ralph's second embouchure accident happened in 1967, while he was umpiring a boy's baseball game in his hometown in Mexico. A bat flew out of a boy's hands, hitting him in the jaw. The jaw was broken, and it was a year before he was able to play again. I happened to hear the first concert he played after healing up from the accident (in Harrisburg, Nebraska -- 1968). He sounded great as usual, but his endurance was not all there. He took some of the endings of solos down an octave.

Rafael retired from playing in 1975, mainly due to the worsening of the bronchitis. He died in 1981 from a heart attack caused by a severe bronchitis episode in the middle of the night.

David Hickman
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trpt.hick wrote:
True, he did take a snort of tequila before each concert to help relax during this time, but he never drank enough to get woozy.


David, this has nothing to do with it's being a regularly occurring event and I wouldn't imply that, but when I went on tour with Mendez, one evening he and the band director were nowhere to be found. We were minutes before downbeat and we were getting concerned.

At the last minute, they showed up rather, uh, happy. It seems that Mendez had found some primo Tequila someplace and they had been sharing it with each other.

On the first tune, Mendez was hot-dogging and held his horn towards the ceiling, bent back, and just kept going. He fell backwards behind the curtain. He re-emerged, playing, and the audience went wild. They thought it was part of the show.

Believe me, after having already done that piece several times in concert, it was not!
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