With deep regret, I share the sad news of the passing of Indianapolis jazz piano great Claude Sifferlen, at the age of 69. Claude was a musical hero of mine, who I first saw perform in 1986 at the Chatterbox. His playing - the pure beauty of his other-worldly harmonic architecture, the intellectual power and spiritual grace of his improvisation, and his simultaneous fathomless complexity and quiet simplicity - was one of my favorite things in the world. Claude was an inspiration that truly altered my life's trajectory, and that of so many others. I will never forget the moments of brief grandeur he found - and shared - with us.
I did not know him well as I would have liked to, but I heard him perform probably hundreds of times through the years and had the sublime opportunity to record him on a session at Hit City a few years ago. The fact that he even knew my name was a great pleasure to me. Claude was a true gentleman and one of those rare virtuosos whose ego did not overshadow his amazing gifts. I would like to offer my condolences to his family, collaborators and friends, and let you know that there are two musical celebrations scheduled (to both honor his infinite spirit and pay some earthly medical expenses): March 31 at the Jazz Kitchen, and at the Chatterbox on April 8.