For those of you who expressed an interest in receiving a copy, here is the text for John Gilmore's obituary from the New York Times, Tuesday, August 22, 1995. No photo was included with the notice. My apologies for any copyright infringements.
John Gilmore, 63, Saxophonist In the Avant-Garde of Jazz
By John Pareles
John Gilmore, a tenor saxophonist who helped define the sound of the
avant-garde during four decades with the Sun Ra Arkestra, died on Sunday at Germantown Hospital in Philadelphia. He was 63 and lived in Philadelphia.
The cause was emphysema, said Danny Thompson, a longtime baritone
saxophonist with the band.
Mr. Gilmore was one of the pioneers of the fierce, screaming,
overblown solos that were an essential part of the 1960's avant-garde, in particular a major influence on John Coltrane. Because he was a sideman rather than a band leader, his efforts were often overlooked by non-musicians. But he was an integral part of a watershed change in 1960's jazz, and a stirring soloist throughout his years with the Arkestra.
Mr. Gilmore was born in Summit, Miss., and grew up in Chicago. He
began playing clarinet at 14, and performed in bands while serving in the Air Force from 1948 to 1951. He played in a group led by Earl Hines in 1952, and in 1953 joined a trio led by Sun Ra. The trio quickly grew into a big band, billed as the Myth-Science Arkestra or the Solar Arkestra, and played music that ranged from straightforward swing-band arrangements to percussion ensembles, chants about outer space and early free jazz.
The Arkestra relocated to New York City in the early 1960's. In 1961,
Mr. Gilmore sat in at Birdland with a group led by Willie Bobo. He was nervous about the group's aggressive rhythm section, and he said in one interview, "Unable to play with the group, I decided to play against them." Afterward, he said, one onlooker, John Coltrane, ran up to him shouting: "You got it! You got the concept!" and asked him for lessons. The concept, Mr. Gilmore added, was "playing rhythmically and melodically at the same time."
During the 1960's, Mr. Gilmore also worked with other groups. He was
with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1964-65, and he recorded in the early 1960's with Freddie Hubbard, Elmo Hope, McCoy Tyner, Paul Bley, Andrew Hill and Chick Corea. The Arkestra's saxophone section worked during the 1960's with the drummer Babatunde Olatunji. In 1970, he recorded as a leader with a group including Dizzy Reece. But the great bulk of his work was with the Arkestra.
Along with tenor saxophone, Mr. Gilmore also played bass clarinet and
drums during his years with the Arkestra, which moved as a group to Philadelphia in the 1970's. He was one of the group's leading soloists, equally adept at outbursts of free jazz or meticulous swing-style solos. He frequently led band rehearsals, and after Sun Ra's death in 1993 helped lead the Arkestra.
He is survived by a sister, Sarah, of Chicago. A retrospective of Mr. Gilmore's recordings is scheduled Wednesday
from 4 to 9 P.M. on WKRC (89.9 FM), and the Arkestra is to play a memorial concert for Mr. Gilmore at S.O.B.'s, 204 Varick Street, at Houston Street, in the South Village, on Thursday night.