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Keith LaMotte RIP



 
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Tony Scodwell
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:08 am    Post subject: Keith LaMotte RIP Reply with quote

For all of you that knew Keith LaMotte, I'm sad to report he died last week from his bout with cancer. He got the bad news that he would not live much longer and decided to forgo any further treatment. Keith started with the Kenton band on mellophonium and was with the band that recorded the legendary "West Side Story" and "Kenton Christmas" albums. He was one of the few (if not the only) mellophonium player to switch to the trumpet section and continued performing throughout the years in Spokane, WA where he was instrumental in founding the Spokane Jazz Orchestra.

Tony Scodwell
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blbaumgarn
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Joined: 26 Jul 2017
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:11 pm    Post subject: Keith LaMotte RIP Reply with quote

Wow, I started playing trumpet in 1960, fifth grade and always had a love for Stan Kenton and his sound. My Dad was a big fan, and his friend and editor of the newspaper where he worked was perhaps the biggest Kenton fan in the state of Ohio. So, from before I picked up the horn I got to hear 78s of early Kenton albums that Joe had and would bring over to share. Joe even got to have a lunch with Kenton when they played a concert at the university where he went and he signed all those 78 covers! My teacher would keep me up with the whole mellophonium thing that they did and those albums. I still have CDs of the Neophonic orchestra and the West Side Story. All of those men were heroes of mine if they touched base with Stan Kenton. at 70 I still wonder what it would have been like to be in the corner of recording studios when much of that righteous music was being played. As you must know Keith, you have my sympathies at the loss. Thanks for sharing. Brian
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Tony Scodwell
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Joined: 17 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:06 am    Post subject: Keith LaMotte RIP Reply with quote

I had the pleasure of playing a Kenton reunion concert in Pasadena, CA that was organized by Steven Harris , the author of "The Kenton Khronicles" (and yes, that is the way the book title was spelled). It was a concert that included the mellophoniums and I put a section together with two really good players here in Las Vegas and of course, Keith. Joel Kaye provided the music and some ex-Kenton players from LA made up the band. We played the "Cuban Fire Suite" amongst many other pieces from the mellophonium era and no less than Carl Saunders was playing lead trumpet. You may remember Carl playing mellophonium on the band, not trumpet. As a matter of fact, Carl was hesitant to ever say he played mellophonium and sitting virtually next to Keith provided some light hearted humor as only Carl can generate. Naturally Keith didn't need the rehearsals we put in in Las Vegas with the two "new" players and the concert was quite successful.

This past year Keith's wife passed away and then his house was broken into. Of all things to steal his Conn mellophonium was taken. (Insert jokes here). I had four mellophoniums in my collection and asked Keith if he would like one of my Conns and sent it up to Spokane. I didn't realize his cancer was that advanced and I hope he had some enjoyment with the horn in the short time he had left. He was a great player and for sure a great guy.

Tony Scodwell
www.scodwellusa.com
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Don Herman rev2
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Joined: 03 May 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great story, and really great gift, Tony.
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mattdalton
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was lucky enough to meet Keith a few times back in the 1980s. What a warm and wonderful guy! I am sorry to hear of his passing, and may he rest in peace. Thanks for sharing the story, Tony.
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