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George Leon Keith
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Flowers 1 to 50 (of 297 total)51 - 100 
Friend: Local musician Keith was 'a treasure'By Brad TurnerThe Daily Times-CallTo many longtime Longmont residents, George Keith was a giftedsaxophone teacher and the friendly musical instrument salesman at theMister Pawn Shop on Main Street for more than two decades.But Keith, who died Sunday from pancreatic cancer, came to Longmontyears after playing with musicians who defined bebop."When he was 16, he played with Dizzy Gillespie, and Dizzy Gillespiehad the best band in the world," Mister Pawn Shop owner and longtimefriend Jim Erwin said Thursday. "He played in Carnegie Hall when hewas still a teenager, and they hardly let anybody who was black inCarnegie Hall."Born Dec. 11, 1933, Keith grew up in Denver's Five Pointsneighborhood.In junior high, he experienced an epiphany when he heard Gillespie andCharlie Parker playing "Salt Peanuts," according to a 1993interview Keith gave to the Daily Times-Call.He took up alto saxophone and developed a huge talent for theinstrument. While still a teen, he played with Gillespie and touredwith bandleaders Hoagie Harper and Nat Towles.The Army drafted Keith in 1952. He learned how to defuse bombs andcontinued to play in military bands throughout Europe. After beingdischarged, he managed a jazz club in London.Later in life, Keith focused on teaching.Amir Mustafaa, Keith's nephew, remembered his uncle as an awesomemusician who instilled a love of jazz in his young pupils."I would be practicing my scales on the piano. ... He would be inanother room, and he could tell you exactly what notes he washearing," Mustafaa said. "If you played a wrong note, he would comein and show you the one you were supposed to hit without hittinganother note."Keith also passed on his fascination with different cultures."He taught me to appreciate everyone, their music, their culture,"Mustafaa said. "He was a man of the world."After paying frequent visits to the Mister Pawn Shop in Longmont whensearching for musical equipment, Keith applied for a job at the storewhen there was a staff vacancy in 1981.In the 21 years he worked there, Keith made the store's music sectionthe Mister's largest, most successful department, Erwin said.Keith rented studio space from several music stores in Longmont andDenver and gave lessons several days a week.He worked tirelessly to find local venues and festivals where his toppupils could gain stage experience, Erwin said.Keith also juggled several part-time careers.He freelanced as a photographer for The Associated Press, ran acommercial printing business and was an expert pipe-fitter."I don't know if the average person in Longmont realized what atreasure he was," Erwin said. "He was a renaissance man. I don'tthink I've known anybody in my whole life who was as smart as George,and as good a person."Keith always loved traveling, his friends said.In December, he visited Japan with friends and sat in to play at a jazzclub in Sapporo. It would be his final performance."He hadn't played the saxophone in public for years and yearsbecause of his health," said Tanya Ishikawa, one of the friends whoaccompanied Keith. "The professional musicians who were there werejust overwhelmed. It was a really nice experience."Keith died a few weeks after returning from his trip to the Far East.His friends and family laid him to rest Friday afternoon in a gravesideservice at Denver's Fairmount Cemetery that featured American Indianflute music and "Amazing Grace" performed on the bagpipes.Keith had composed his own funeral song, a jazz piano piece called"Angel Wings," for the memorial reception after the gravesideservice, Ishikawa said.
- Joyce
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- Leann Brooks
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- Lisa Harrington
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- Ricky Fellows
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And Thank you for your service in Korea
- Marcia
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- Cathy
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- chris graziano
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- Kasey Kennedy-Wilson
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Resting in God's peace
- sjb
 Added: May. 3, 2015
You played the good stuff....keep on jammin' up there.
- Sax Man
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- Steve
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- Remembering ...
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- sniksnak
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- Angel of Flowers
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Continued Restful Peace!
- Camella Ford
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- John P. Birosak
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- Angel of Flowers
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- Jo Gilbert Parker
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- Beverly Dunn
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- sniksnak
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- Remembering ...
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Flowers 1 to 50 (of 297 total)51 - 100 
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