Musician Harold Arnold Gets Jazzy Farewell - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Musician Harold Arnold Gets Jazzy Farewell

CLEVELAND (AP) - For 70 years, Harold Arnold Sr. put his heart and soul into a saxophone, sometimes standing solo in low light of a jazz club or harmonizing with a black-tie band.

His spirit seemed present Thursday night, as some of Cleveland's top musicians gathered in a funeral home on the city's East Side to give the horn player a musical send-off.

A nine-piece ensemble started off with a collection of Duke Ellington tunes, as a chapel full of mourners dressed in black bobbed their heads, tapped their feet and clapped between songs -- "Satin Doll," "In a Mellow Tone," "Don't Get Around Much Anymore."

But tears welled when sax players Andy Anderson, 90, and Fred Jenkins, 82, stood over the casket of their friend, playing a duet of "My Buddy," a sad World War I tune.

"We came up as kids together, playing in Cleveland back in the '30s," said Anderson. "All the night spots. Bootleg joints. Anywhere there was a job, you worked."

Arnold, who died last week at age 90, was born March 4, 1912, in Asheville, N.C. At age 5, he learned the piano from his father. At 13, he picked up his first saxophone.

As a young man, Arnold traveled from city to city, playing in big-band orchestras with many of America's jazz maestros, including Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Art Tatum and Lucky Millinder.

In 1980, he and his son, Harold Arnold Jr., a blues piano player, accompanied Cleveland blues guitarist Robert Jr. Lockwood on an album that won a national award.

Some well-known musicians who showed at the E.F. Boyd Funeral Home included organist Eddie Baccus and trombonist William Sheperd.

From outside the chapel, it sounded more like a New Year's Eve party than a funeral, The Plain Dealer reported.

"We have to celebrate that he was here with us for so long," said Arnold Jr. "He's left us some things that all of us can remember him by."

Besides a collection of vintage saxophones, Arnold passed on his musical genes. His granddaughters, Elizabeth Arnold Glenn, 7, a violinist, and Jennifer Michelle Arnold, 21, a violist, played classical pieces Thursday night after the jazz ended.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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