Friday, April 13, 2012

R.I.P.: Hal McKusick

Hal McKusick, Prominent Jazz Musician and Ross School Teacher, Dies at 87
by Colleen Reynolds for East Hampton Press

April 13, 2012

Hal McKusick, a prominent jazz saxophonist, clarinetist and flutist who lived in Sag Harbor and taught music at the Ross School, died on Wednesday at age 87 of natural causes, according to the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home.

In addition to his musical exploits -- he was also a composer, had a 14-year career with the CBS Studio Orchestra and worked alongside Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman and Judy Garland, to name a few -- Mr. McKusick was known as a talented craftsman, favoring furniture of the Shaker style. He restored his Sag Harbor home, which was originally built in 1796, according to a biography posted on his website. In the 1980s, the self-taught woodworker opened an antiques and restoration shop, Little Barn Antiques, where he crafted special commission furniture pieces for decades.

Mr. McKusick also took to the skies, having earned his commercial pilot's license in the 1970s, and even did some stunt flying and piloted charter flights from the East End to New England and islands along the Eastern seaboard, his biography states.

He took a teaching post at the Ross School in East Hampton in 1993 and is credited with founding the school's jazz band.

Mr. McKusick was born on June 1, 1924, in Medford, Massachusetts.

Funeral arrangements were not yet set as of Friday morning, according to Yardley and Pino.

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