Arts Investigation: Mortality and Jazz Artists – Do We Honor the Dead?

By Steve Elman

How well or how poorly are we paying homage to our jazz ancestors? Some graves are worthy places of pilgrimage. Others are neglected . . . or unknown.

The grave of saxophonist Jackie McLean in Woodlawn Cemetery’s Jazz Corner, Bronx, NY. Photo: The Columbus Dispatch

Bud Powell”s body lies in an unmarked grave in a poorly-kept cemetery in Pennsylvania.

Does this shock you? Are you amazed that one of the great artists of the twentieth century, a pianist who influenced countless others after him, has one more ignominy added to his troubled life?

It shocked me when Peter Pullman, Bud’s biographer, told me about it. I went back to his Wail: the Life of Bud Powell (Bop Changes, 2013) and found it as compelling as it was when I reviewed it almost eleven years ago.

Wail does not linger at Powell’s deathbed. But Pullman is so thorough in his devotion to his subject that he has begun a campaign to raise funds supporting reburial of the pianist’s remains in one of the sites best-known to jazzpeople, the “Jazz Corner” of Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York. To learn more about the campaign and how you can help, see “More” below.

It is understandable that one would want to visit the grave of an artist one reveres, and to see it well-marked and well-cared-for. I remember my visit to Copenhagen’s Assistens Cemetery in 2013, when I was easily able to find the plot where Ben Webster’s ashes are interred and where I was able to stand in a few moments of silent homage to an artist whose work still means a lot to me.

Pullman’s discovery fired up my curiosity about other jazz graves, so I set out to investigate how well or how poorly we are honoring our jazz ancestors. I was surprised to learn how well-documented some tombs are and how mysteriously others are said to be “unknown,” which often means “undocumented” or even “unresearched.”

The grave of Louis Armstrong in Flushing Cemetery, New York.

It seems that for the great majority of jazz performers, what had been a life lived substantially in public becomes suddenly private after death. The postmortem decisions pass out of the deceased’s hands into those of his or her survivors. These people – and sometimes the funeral directors they employ – determine where and how the remains are to be memorialized. Some artists are remembered in keeping with their importance, and their graves can legitimately be said to be places worthy of pilgrimage. Some deaths are mysterious and the places of interment even more so. And money is always a factor.

What follows are some notable postmortem anomalies. We should begin with Bud Powell. His story may be an example of the kinds of issues that interfere with worthy recognition.

Powell died of tuberculosis, alcoholism, and malnutrition on July 31, 1966 at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn. His funeral took place on August 8 of that year, and several thousand witnessed his funeral procession. Rev. John Gensel, who made service to the jazz community in New York his life’s work, paid for Powell’s remains to be transported to Fairview Cemetery in Willow Grove, PA, where his body was buried next to those of his mother Pearl and his brother Richie. But no stone was erected, despite good will from Powell’s fellow musicians like Max Roach. It appears that no one had enough money to provide the stone Powell should have had. When Peter Pullman visited Powell’s grave, he noted, “Fairview is a very poor facility, poorly maintained,” and he received approval from Powell’s heirs to begin an effort to give Powell a fitting memorial.

Another bebop master, Dizzy Gillespie himself, is also buried in an unmarked grave, “next to his mother,” in Flushing Cemetery, Flushing, NY, according to In March 2019, Andy Senior of The Syncopated Times noted this and said, “To our knowledge, Dizzy never expressed the wish that his grave be left unadorned.” This may be another example of time gnawing away at chances for appropriate recognition.

Bassist Paul Chambers was one of the busiest sidemen in jazz at the height of his career, and a member of one of the great rhythm sections of all time, in Miles Davis’s first great quintet, with Red Garland on piano and Philly Joe Jones on drums. He was an invaluable contributor to dozens of classic LPs, like Davis’s Kind of Blue, Porgy and Bess, and Sketches of Spain; John Coltrane’s Giant Steps; Sonny Clark’s Sonny’s Crib; and Abbey Lincoln’s That’s Him. Chambers fought addictions to heroin and alcohol, and his ability as a musician decayed as the years passed. Eventually his substance abuse led to tuberculosis, a coma, and death in New York City in 1969. The news barely rated a ripple in the mainstream press (or even in the jazz press), and it took years before he began to receive his due. Only one source (a feature on Chambers by David Yearsley) identifies his place of burial as The Cemetery of the Evergreens in Brooklyn, where Lester Young, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and producer Bob Thiele are also buried. The cemetery itself does not even mention him among its notable “residents.”

On the other hand, Elvin Jones, the drummer in another great band, John Coltrane’s so-called “classic quartet,” with McCoy Tyner and Jimmy Garrison, played brilliantly and was lionized to the very end of his career. There was even a public memorial service in New York City after his death from heart failure in Englewood, New Jersey in 2004. But assiduous searches of the net do not turn up any information about whether he was cremated or where he was buried. Presumably, his family knows, but it is surprising that there appears to be no lasting memorial – whether a gravestone, a statue or even a plaque – to one of the great percussionists of all time.

The grave of saxophonist Sam Rivers in Florida National Cemetery.

Possibly the most notorious death in jazz history was that of the tenor saxophonist Wardell Gray, whom fans in the bebop era expected to become the Charlie Parker of the tenor saxophone. But like many other beboppers, Gray became addicted to heroin. After he died of an overdose in Las Vegas in 1955, friends brought his body to the desert and left it there. What happened to the remains has not yet been documented in any source I can find.

The death of saxophonist Albert Ayler, like that of Gray, was a tragedy. His body was found in the East River in New York City in November 1970, and it was common speculation that he had committed suicide, although there was some suspicion that he had been murdered. His grave is in Highland Park Cemetery, Highland Hills, Ohio, near his birth city of Cleveland Heights.

There must be an unequivocal story of suicide, of course. Disappointment and frustration dog the lives of many jazzpeople, but the name of one who killed himself may be a surprise to many: J. J. Johnson, an unqualified success by any measure. Johnson’s amazing control of the notoriously difficult trombone is documented on dozens of recordings, and he was also an accomplished composer. Ultimately, suicides are unexplainable to the survivors, but perhaps Johnson felt despair at the decay of his abilities resulting from his battle with spinal stenosis, which can be so painful that it consumes a person’s life. He was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in his home town of Indianapolis, Indiana.

There are some stories that add appropriate twists to distinctive careers. Fats Waller was a master showman who loved his birthplace and stomping ground of Harlem. He specified that his ashes were to be strewn over Harlem from a plane, and his wish was granted after he died in 1943, with the plane piloted by an aviator known as “The Black Ace,” possibly the first African-American pilot in World War I, Eugene Bullard.

Paul Desmond’s story provides a wry postscript for a man who loved subtle humor. It’s told by Paul Cerra in his Jazz Profiles blog: Desmond’s remains were cremated, and his friend, “Jimmy Lyons, the one-time San Francisco disc jockey and founder of the Monterey Jazz Festival, took the urn containing Paul’s ashes and a pitcher of martinis up in an airplane over the sea off the rugged coastal stretch known as Big Sur, which Paul loved. He opened the plane’s window to scatter the ashes and drink a last martini to Paul, and the wind blew both in his face. ‘Thanks a lot, Paul,’ Jimmy said, and laughed.”

The grave of drummer Max Roach in Woodlawn Cemetery.

For relatively recent jazz deaths, the memory may be too fresh or too painful for the musician’s survivors yet to consign their loved ones to history. For example, there are no records on line regarding the graves or cremations of Chick Corea (died 2021), Roy Hargrove (died 2018), Barry Harris (died 2021), Bobby Hutcherson (died 2016), Ahmad Jamal (died 2023), Steve Lacy (died 2004), Pharoah Sanders (died 2022) or Horace Silver (died 2014).

In some cases, the public record is simply silent. For example, I was unable to find any reference to the cremation or grave of pianist Tommy Flanagan, perhaps in keeping with a life as a consummate accompanist who rarely sought the spotlight for himself.

There also are glories. Louis Armstrong’s grave in Flushing NY is a site that sees many visitors. Miles Davis (“Sir Miles” on his tombstone, recognizing the honor given him by the government of France) has an honored place in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx near that of Duke Ellington, and many other lights have joined them nearby in what Woodlawn calls its “Jazz Corner.” Jackie McLean’s tombstone In Woodlawn captures his ebullience and fire. Sam Rivers’s stone, in Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, FL, eloquently says “Jazz Icon” after his military service record. And the mutual love of trumpeter Art Farmer and his twin brother bassist Addison, who died suddenly in 1963, 35 years before his brother, is touchingly memorialized on their joint tombstone in Greenwood Memorial Lawn Cemetery in Phoenix: “Together forever.”

Cemeteries and gravestones are for the living, of course. But the sad truth is that if too much time passes after a person dies, they become a footnote or a question mark, and the living are the losers.

We jazzpeople should not allow this to happen to Bud Powell, or to any of those who continue to give us joy and enlightenment through their recordings. I, for one, am making a contribution to help Peter Pullman give Bud Powell the final honor he very much deserves.


The campaign to move Bud Powell’s remains from the unmarked grave in Fairview Cemetery in Pennsylvania to the Jazz Corner of Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx with an appropriate headstone is being managed by Powell’s biographer Peter Pullman. Pullman has secured a location for the new grave at Woodlawn and has found an anonymous donor who will put $15,000 in matching funds towards the campaign. Pullman’s goal is to complete the reburial and the erection of the new headstone before September 27 of this year, which will be the 100th anniversary of Powell’s birth.

Pullman is partnering with a fiscal sponsor, FJC, to allow donors to make tax-deductible contributions. To date, the Bud Powell Centenary project has raised about two-thirds of its goal. Gifts are tax-deductible, and they may be doubled in value if the donor works for a company that participates in charitable fundraising efforts. More information can be found at the Bud Powell Centenary page on the non-profit website

The grave of the pianist and bandleader Sun Ra in Elmwood Cemetery, Birmingham, AL.

Below is an idiosyncratic list of jazzpeople who have inspired reverence, devotion, or passion from their fans, in an attempt to satisfy readers’ curiosity about where their graves might be visited. Each listing shows information about the person’s burial or cremation in so far as I have been able to find such information from on-line research. Additions to the list are (of course) welcome – please feel free to add a comment below if you have information to share.

“Woodlawn” signifies burial in Woodlawn Cemetery, 4199 Webster Avenue, Bronx, NY. Woodlawn’s “Jazz Corner” is located at the crossroads of Knollwood and Heather Avenues (internal “streets” of Woodlawn)

# indicates a person of particular interest to jazzpeople in eastern Massachusetts

(“findagrave,” “Krelnik,” “Lamere,” and “Wilson” refer to the sources of information shown after the list of names.)

A list of other notable jazzpeople follows this list, compiled with the help of Fuse writers and readers. See Addenda below.

Cannonball Adderley (1928 – 1975) – Southside Cem., Tallahassee FL; exact location in Krelnik / findagrave listing

Nat Adderley (1931 – 2000) – Southside Cem., Tallahassee FL; exact location in Krelnik / findagrave listing

Ivie Anderson (1904 -1949)Angelus Rosedale Cem, Los Angeles;exact location in findagrave listing

Louis Armstrong (1901 – 1971) – Flushing [NY] Cem; exact location in Krelnik / findagrave listing

# Mae Arnette (1931 – 2023) – Mt. Hope Cem, Boston, per Bryan Marquard (Arnette obituary), Boston Globe, August 6, 2023

Albert Ayler (1936 – 1970) – found dead in East River, NYC – Highland Park Cem, Highland Hills, OH; exact location in findagrave listing

Chet Baker (1929 – 1988) – Inglewood Park Cem, Los Angeles; exact location in Krelnik / findagrave listing

Billy Bang (1947 – 2011) – Woodlawn (Hillcrest Plot) – findagrave listing

Count Basie (1904 – 1984) – Pinelawn Memorial Park, East Farmingdale, NY; exact location in Krelnik / findagrave listing

Sidney Bechet (1897 – 1959) – Cimetière des Garches, Haute-de-Seine, France – Lamere

Bix Beiderbecke (1903 – 1931) – Oakdale Cem, Davenport IA –Lamere

Eubie Blake (1883 – 1983) – Cypress Hills Cem, Brooklyn NY; exact location in Krelnik / findagrave listing

Art Blakey (1919 -1990) – Cremated at Uptown Manhattan Trinity Cem, NYC; ashes returned “to the family” – Wilson

Buddy Bolden (1877 – 1931) – Holt Cemetery, New Orleans; exact location in findagrave listing (under “Charles ‘Buddy’ Bolden”)

Clifford Brown (1930 – 1956) – Mount Zion Cem, Wilmington, DE; exact location in findagrave listing

Ray Brown (1926 – 2002) – Forest Lawn Cem, Hollywood CA; exact location in Krelnik / findagrave listing

Dave Brubeck (1920 – 2012) – Umpawaug Cem, Redding CT – Wikipedia biography

# Jaki Byard (1922 – 1999) – St. Charles Cem, E Farmingdale NY – exact location in findagrave listing (under “John Arthur Byard”)

Benny Carter (1907 – 2003) – Died in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles; cremated, ashes donated to “Jazz Center in Harlem” – Wilson; this may refer to The Jazz Center of New York, which ceased operations c. 2023. The current location or disposition of Carter’s ashes has not been documented.

Betty Carter (1929 – 1998) – Private funeral, followed by memorial serviceat Riverside Church, NYC, and cremation, per Chrisena Coleman in New York Daily News, Oct 2, 1998; ashes given to family (many thanks to John H.)

# Harry Carney (1910 – 1974) – Ferncliff Cem, Hartsdale, NY – exact location in findagrave listing (under “Harry Howell Carney”)

# Margaret Stedman Chaloff (1896 – 1977) – Forest Hills Cem, Jamaica Plain, MA (perhaps near her son Serge); Madame Chaloff is included here because she is revered by pianists as a gifted teacher and a transmitter of technique that opened doors for George Shearing, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Ran Blake, Donal Fox, Kenny Werner, Steve Kuhn, and many others.

# Serge Chaloff (1923 – 1957) – Forest Hills Cem, Jamaica Plain, MA – exact location in finadgrave listing

Paul Chambers (1935 – 1969) – Died of tuberculosis, exacerbated by heroin and alcohol, per Wikipedia; buried at The Cemetery of the Evergreens, Brooklyn, per David Yearsley, “Bass on Top: the Genius of Paul Chambers,” Anderson Valley Advertiser, May 1, 2024.

# Arni Cheatham (1944 – 2023) – The Gardens of Gethsemane Cem, West Roxbury, MA (many thanks to saxophonist Peter Bloom)

Don Cherry (1936 – 1995) – Died in Malaga, Spain per Wikipedia; buried in Fuengirola Cem, Malaga per

Ornette Coleman (1930 – 2015) – Woodlawn (Hillcrest Plot) – Woodlawn website

Buddy Collette (1921 – 2010) – Forest Lawn Cem, Glendale CA, in an unmarked grave per Wikipedia list of notable burials there

John Coltrane (1026 – 1967)Pinelawn Memorial Park, East Farmingdale NY; exact location in Krelnik / findagrave listing

# Chick Corea (1941 – 2021) died in Tampa, FL per Wiki bio; “Burial details unknown” per

Miles Davis (1926 – 1991) – Woodlawn (Hillcrest Plot) – Woodlawn website; “Sir Miles Davis” is on his headstone, recognizing Davis’s decoration in 1991 with the Knight’s Cross of the French Légion d’Honneur, awarded to him by Jack Lang, French Minister of Culture.

Paul Desmond (1924 – 1977) – Cremated, ashes scattered at sea over Big Sur, CA, per Paul Cerra, Paul Desmond – Another Perspective, Jazz Profiles,, February 4, 2019

Eric Dolphy (1928 – 1964) – Angelus Rosedale Cem, Los Angeles; exact location in findagrave listing

Harry “Sweets” Edison (1915 – 1999) – Glen Rest Memorial Estate, Reynoldsburg, OH; exact location in Krelnik / findagrave listing

Roy Eldridge (1911 – 989) Pinelawn Memorial Park, East Farmingdale NY; exact location in Krelnik / findagrave listing

Duke Ellington (1899 – 1974) – Woodlawn (Wild Rose Plot, near Jazz Corner); exact location in Krelnik / findagrave listing

Gil Evans (1912 – 1988) – Died in Cuernavaca Mexico,per Wikipedia biography; cremated, per findagrave listing; ashes probably given to wife Anita and son Miles

Herschel Evans (1909 – 1939) – Angelus Rosedale Cem, Los Angeles – findagrave

Art Farmer (1928 – 1999) and Addison Farmer (1928 – 1963) – Greenwood Memorial Lawn Cemetery, Phoenix, AZ. The twin brothers of jazz – trumpeter Art and bassist Addison – share a headstone with the epitaph “Together Forever.”

Maynard Ferguson (1928 – 2006) – Cremated in Ojai, CA; ashes given to his son Jacob Wilder Ferguson, per Wilson

Ella Fitzgerald (1917 – 1996) – Inglewood Park Cem, Los Angeles; exact location in Krelnik / findagrave listing

Tommy Flanagan (1930 – 2001) – died at Mt. Sinai Hospital, Manhattan; burial or cremation details are not documented in any online source

Erroll Garner (1921 – 1877) – Homewood Cem, Pittsburgh PA; exact location in Krelnik / findagrave listing

George Gershwin (1898 – 1937) – Westchester Hills Cem, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY – Lamere. He is included here because of his impact on jazz and his pioneering work combining formal composition with jazz elements.

# Ron Gill (1935 – 2020) – Cremated, ashes scattered (many thanks to Tessil Collins)

Dizzy Gillespie (1917 – 1993) – unmarked grave, “next to his mother,” Flushing [NY] Cem; exact location not given by findagrave listing

Stan Getz (1927 – 1991) – Cremated, ashes scattered at sea – findagrave

Benny Goodman (1909 – 1986) – Long Ridge Union Cem, Stamford CT; exact location in Krelnik / findagrave listing

Dexter Gordon (1923 -1990) – Cremated; ashes scattered over Hudson River by his wife, Maxine Gordon, per Wilson

Wardell Gray (1921 – 1955) – Died of a heroin overdose in Las Vegas; friends brought his body to the desert; what happened to the remains is not yet documented

Sonny Greer (c. 1895 – 1982) – Woodlawn (Jazz Corner) – Woodlawn site

# Bob Gullotti (1949 – 2020) – Cremated, ashes given to family (many thanks to bassist John Lockwood)

Lionel Hampton (1908 – 2002) — Woodlawn (Jazz Corner) — Woodlawn site

W. C. Handy (1873 -1958) – Woodlawn (southwest corner, near Jerome Avenue gate) – Woodlawn site

Barry Harris (1929 – 2021) – no documentation of grave or cremation in any online source

Coleman Hawkins (1904 -1969) – Woodlawn (Yew Plot) – Woodlawn site

Earl Hines (1903 – 1983) – Evergreen Cem, Oakland, CA – Lamere

Johnny Hodges (1907 – 1970) – Flushing [NY] Cem – Lamere

Billie Holiday (1915 – 1959) – St. Raymond’s Cem, Bronx NY – Lamere

Roy Hargrove (1969 – 2018) – no documentation of grave or cremation in any online source

Joe Henderson (1937 – 2001) – Dayton [OH] National Cem – exact location in findagrave listing

Bobby Hutcherson (1941 – 2016) – no documentation of grave or cremation in any online source

Milt Jackson (1923 – 1999) – Woodlawn (Brookside Community Mausoleum) – Woodlawn site

Illinois Jacquet (1922 – 2004) – Woodlawn (Jazz Corner) – Woodlawn site

Ahmad Jamal (1930 – 2023) – Died Ashley Falls, MA per DownBeat; no documentation of grave or cremation in any online source

# Dick Johnson (1925 – 2010) – Calvary Cem, Brockton, MA – findagrave listing

J. J. Johnson (1924 – 2001) – Suicide at his home in Indianapolis, IN;

buried in Crown Hill Cem (exterior garden, Mausoleum 1), Indianapolis – Wilson

Elvin Jones (1927 – 2004) – Died Englewood NJ, per corrected obituary by Peter Keepnews on New York Times website, May 19, 2004. ”Burial details unknown” per findagrave and other online sources

Scott Joplin (1868 – 1917) – St. Michael’s Cem, Queens NY – Lamere

# Steve Lacy (1934 – 2004) – Died at New England Baptist Hospital; no documentation of grave or cremation in any online source

# Sabby Lewis (1914 – 1994) – Mashpee Town Cem, Mashpee, MA – findagrave listing

# Charlie Mariano (1923 – 2009) – Cremated; ashes interred in Mariano family plot per Google Groups post, possibly Fairview Cem, Hyde Park

Jackie McLean (1931 – 2006) – Woodlawn (Jazz Corner) – Woodlawn site

Abbey Lincoln (1930 – 2010) – Cremated, “ashes scattered” – findagrave

# Dave McKenna (1930 – 2008) – “Burial details unknown” per findagrave; possibly buried in State College PA, where he died

Marian McPartland (1918 – 2013) – Arlington Cem, Elmhurst, IL – findagrave

Carmen McRae (1920 – 1994) – Cremated, “ashes scattered at sea” – findagrave

Charles Mingus (1922 – 1979) – Cremated, “ashes scattered” – findagrave

Thelonious Monk (1917 – 1982) – Ferncliff Cem, Hartsdale, NY – Lamere

Jelly Roll Morton (1890 – 1941) – New Calvary Catholic Cem, East Los Angeles – Lamere

Gerry Mulligan ­(1927 – 1996) – Cremated, “location of ashes is not known” per findagrave

King Oliver (1881 – 1938) – Woodlawn – Woodlawn site

Charlie Parker (1920 – 1955) – Lincoln Cem, Kansas City, MO – Lamere

# Rebecca Parris (1951 – 2018) – Cremated, ashes scattered in the White Mountains and in other locations she loved (many thanks to Marla Kleman)

Jaco Pastorius (1951 – 1987) – Queen of Heaven Cem, North Lauderdale FL

# Herb Pomeroy (1930 – 2007) – Dolliver Memorial Cem, Gloucester, MA – findagrave

Bud Powell (1924 – 1966) – Unmarked grave in Fairview Cem, Willow Grove PA

# Sam Rivers (1923 – 2011) – Florida National Cem, Bushnell, FL – findagrave

Max Roach (1924 – 2007) – Woodlawn – Woodlawn site

# George Russell (1923 – 2009) – Cremated, “ashes given to family” – findagrave

Pharoah Sanders (1940 – 2022) – Died at his home in Los Angeles; no documentation of grave or cremation in any online source

# Ray Santisi (1933 – 2014) – Saint Joseph Cem, W. Roxbury, MA – findagrave

Horace Silver (1928 – 2014) – Died in New Rochelle, NY of natural causes after a long period of Alzheimer’s Disease; no documentation of grave or cremation in any online source

Nina Simone (1933 – 2003) – Cremated, “ashes scattered” per findagrave

# Carol Sloane (1937 – 2023) – Cremated; ashes scattered in locations significant to her and to her fans (many thanks to Sue Auclair)

Bessie Smith (1894 – 1937) – Mount Lawn Cem, Sharon Hill PA; exact location in findagrave listing

# Sonny Stitt (1924 – 1982) – Fort Lincoln Cem (wall crypt), Brentwood MD, per Wikipedia biography

Billy Strayhorn (1915 – 1957) – Cremated, ashes “scattered” – Krelnik / findagrave listing

Sun Ra (1914 – 1993) – Elmwood Cem & Mausoleum, Birmingham, AL; headstone reads “Herman Sonny Blount aka Le Sony’r Ra.”

Art Tatum (1909 -1956) – originally buried at Angelus Rosedale Cem, Los Angeles, where a memorial cenotaph remains; reinterred at Forest Lawn Cem, Glendale, CA in 1991

Cecil Taylor (1929 – 2018) – Woodlawn – Woodlawn site

Clark Terry (1920 – 2015) – Woodlawn (Jazz Corner) – Woodlawn site

Sarah Vaughan (1924 – 1990) – Glendale Cem, Bloomfield CA per Wikipedia biography

Fats Waller (1904 – 1943) – Cremated, ashes “scattered over Harlem by ‘The Black Ace,’” a WWI aviator [possibly Eugene J. Bullard] – Lamere, Wikipedia biography, Askhistorians on, National Air and Space Museum website

Dinah Washington (1924 – 1963) – Burr Oak Cem, Alsip, IL per Wikipedia bio

Ben Webster (1909 – 1973) – Cremated; ashes interred at Assistens Cem, Copenhagen, Denmark

Cootie Williams (1911 – 1985) – Woodlawn (Jazz Corner) – Woodlawn site

# James Williams (1951 – 2004) – Forest Hills Cem South, Memphis TN – findagrave

# Tony Williams (1945 – 1997) – Holy Cross Catholic Cem, Colma, CA – exact info in findagrave listing (under “Tillmon Anthony ‘Tony’ Williams”)

# Teddy Wilson (1912 – 1986) – Fairview Cem, New Britain, CT; exact info in findagrave listing

Phil Woods (1931 – 2015) – “Burial details unknown” per findagrave

Lester Young (1909 – 1959) – The Cemetery of the Evergreens, Brooklyn, per Evergreens website

Addenda (as of May 27, 2024):

Here is a second list of more well-known jazzpeople with information about their graves or cremations. Many thanks to readers for their suggestions and my colleagues David Daniel and Steve Provizer at the Fuse for their kind contributions:

Don Byas (1912 – 1972) – Died of lung cancer in Amsterdam, Netherlands per Wikipedia biography and findagrave; no documentation of grave or cremation in any online source

Eddie Condon (1905 – 1973) – Christ Church Episcopal Graveyard, Shrewsbury, NJ – findagrave (under “Albert Edwin Condon”)

Bill Evans (1929 – 1980) – Died in Mount Sinai Hospital, NYC, of peptic ulcer, cirrhosis, bronchial pneumonia and untreated hepatitis; Roseland Memorial Park, Baton Rouge LA, next to his brother Harry. The Louisiana Music Trail (LINK: identifies the site as a tourist attraction and provides the street address.

Bud Freeman (1906 – 1991) – Graceland Cem, Chicago IL – exact location in findagrave listing (under “Lawrence Jacob Freeman”)

Red Garland (1923 – 1984) – Lincoln Memorial Park, Dallas, TX – findagrave (under “William McKinley Garland”)

Vince Guaraldi (1927 – 1976) – Holy Cross Cem, Colma, CA – Wikipedia biography

Freddie Hubbard (1938 – 2008) – Died of complications from heart attack in Sherman Oaks, CA; cremated, ashes given to family – findagrave listing, Wikipedia biography

Art Pepper (1925 – 1982) – Died of stroke in Los Angeles; Abbey of the Psalms Mausoleum in Hollywood Forever Cem, Hollywood CA – Wikipedia biography

Esther Phillips (1935 – 1984) – Died at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles of liver failure and kidney failure attributed to drug abuse; originally buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave at Lincoln Memorial Park in Compton, CA; reinterred in 1985 in the Morning Light section of Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Los Angeles, with a tombstone reading, “Legendary vocalist, style original, unique teen superstar, ‘Little Esther’[.] Her career spanned spanned four decades[.] Grammy Award and NAACP Image Award”; exact location and photo of tombstone in findagrave listing – Wikipedia biography, findagrave

David Sanborn (1945 – 2024) – Died in Tarrytown, NY of complications from prostate cancer; no documentation of grave or cremation yet available from any online source

Cal Tjader (1925 – 1982) – Died of heart attack while on tour with his band in Manila, Philippines; The Italian Cem, Colma, CA – findagrave listing, Wikipedia biography

Dave Tough (1907 – 1948) – Died of a fall caused by an epileptic attack, Newark, NJ; Forest Home Cem, Forest Park, IL – Wikipedia biography; exact location in findagrave listing

Stanley Turrentine (1934 – 2000) – Died of stroke in New York City; Allegheny Cem, Pittsburgh PA – Wikipedia biography

McCoy Tyner (1938 – 2020) – Died at his home in Bergenfield, NJ; no documentation of grave or cremation in any online source

Grave of trumpeter Art Farmer and his twin brother Addison in Greenwood Memorial Lawn Cemetery, Phoenix, AZ.

Here are some sources of information for those interested in doing more research:

Scott Wilson, Resting Places: the Burial Sites of More than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3rd edition (McFarland, 2003)

This is an amazing resource and work of research. The text is partially available via Google Books. (A search in this form will lead to pages in Wilson’s text – “vaughan, sarah” scott wilson google books) has much valuable data, and is easily searchable. All too often, though, you will find ”Burial details unknown” in the listing. These words do not mean that no one knows where the person is buried; it means that this particular site does not have any more information.

List of the graves of jazzpeople compiled by “Krelnik” using findagrave data

List of the graves of jazzpeople compiled by Cliff Lamere, with some links to photos.

Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx is a genuine tourist attraction, not only for the graves of jazz people (in its “Jazz Corner” and elsewhere) and other artists in many genres, but for the burial sites of famous scientists, politicians, humanitarians, writers, entrepreneurs, and inventors. Detail on Woodlawn Cemetery “residents” with jazz connections, posted for Jazz Appreciation Month, April 2024.

Video feature on Woodlawn’s “Jazz Corner” from Fox 5, NYC, June 11, 2014, with views of many gravestones; reported by Stacey Delikat

List of notable people in Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles

List of notable people in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale CA:

This article details the distinctive traditions of jazz funerals and graves in New Orleans: Helen Anders, “Visiting the spirits of jazz past in New Orleans,” Austin American-Statesman, August 31, 2012

Steve Elman’s more than four decades in New England public radio have included 10 years as a jazz host in the 1970s, five years as a classical host on WBUR in the 1980s, a short stint as senior producer of an arts magazine, 13 years as assistant general manager of WBUR, and fill-in classical host on 99.5 WCRB.

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  1. Stephen Provizer on May 15, 2024 at 7:31 am

    An amazing research job. Let me add one to the list: drummer Dave Tough, buried in Forest Home Cemetery Forest Park, Cook County, Illinois.

  2. Gerald Peary on May 15, 2024 at 2:15 pm

    Wow! Everyone should be indebted to you for this amazing research. Thanks so much!

  3. Steve Bowie on May 15, 2024 at 2:16 pm

    However well intentioned Mr. Pullman may be, he has no authority or right to move the remains of Bud Powell. That is a matter for the family. How would he like it if someone tried to move some of his family members’ remains to other places?

    • Steve Elman on May 15, 2024 at 3:35 pm

      Steve, you’re completely right. Space did not permit me to detail Peter Pullman’s work with the Powell family. His consideration for them has been paramount in his thinking all along. Powell’s heirs are fully supportive of this effort, and they would be pleased to have Bud receive a fitting place in the Jazz Corner. Many thanks for your attention to this, and I’m glad to have the chance to clear the air.

  4. John H. on May 22, 2024 at 8:50 am

    Kudos and many thanks for your comprehensive list, and shining a light on the graves and tributes to those who made a mark in the history of jazz. On many levels, your research must have been disheartening to say the least.

    In the case of my friend Betty Carter, her family (adult children) were the recipients of her ashes. It’s no one’s business, really, what was done with them.

    One omission in your list is vocalist Esther Phillips. I recall that after her death in 1984, Chuck Niles, the legendary jazz DJ in Los Angeles, got on the air and ask for donations to pay for her burial. I was both shocked and deeply saddened by her death at age 49, but apparently she was just one of many jazz greats who were destitute, neglected or forgotten at the end of their lives. Very sad indeed. Again, thank you.

    • Steve Elman on May 27, 2024 at 11:43 am

      Many thanks, John, for your information on Betty Carter and your suggestion of Esther Phillips. A list of addenda and some correctiions will soon be posted.

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