Micky Golomb — a tenor saxophone player who for many years was a major face of Westport jazz — died last weekend, peacefully at home. He was 88.
When Micky was a teenager in the late 1940s, his family moved from Brookline, Massachusetts to Brooklyn. In Manhattan he heard legendary musicians like Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Lester Young and Stan Getz. They influenced him profoundly.
He joined the military during the Korean War, hoping to fly. But when an officer found out he played sax, he was given a choice: KP duty or the band. He served the entire time as an Air Force musician — including a fondly remembered year in Iceland.
After he was discharged, Micky enjoyed a long career playing in jazz bands, ensembles, and the occasional big band (most notably Art Mooney and Jimmy Dorsey’s orchestras).
In 1987 he toured Italy with a sextet billed as “Veterans of Jazz.” The bulk of his career was spent playing in New York City, and Fairfield and Westchester Counties.
Micky’s long-term engagements included playing and singing at Dameon’s, and the Westport Inn. He also loved monthly jam sessions in Port Chester. Most recently, he sang with the Y’s Men’s Hoot Owls.
Micky ran Regency Music Studios in Rye for over 20 years. He then served as director of the Rye Arts Center’s music division.
He taught sax and clarinet to many local young musicians. Blessed with perfect pitch, Micky also tuned pianos for individuals and and businesses.
He met Katherine, a library administrator, in 1973, when a friend brought her to the club where Micky was playing. They married 5 years later, and lived on Nash’s Pond for many years. When they downsized, they moved to Harvest Commons.
Micky loved cruising and sailing on Long Island Sound. He owned a succession of boats, named Adagio, Sea Melody and Coda. His last vessel was Fine — the musical term marking the end of a composition or movement.
Micky had a song lyric for every occasion. He sang Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” just a few days before he died. He indeed lived a life that was full. He traveled each and every highway. And he did it his way.
Greg Wall — the Jazz Rabbi — lived not far from him. Micky enjoyed listening to Greg’s Thursday night jazz series. The last time was a few weeks ago, at Pearl at Longshore.
Greg saw Micky shortly before he died. “He was fully present, at peace, comfortable, and not at all hesitant about embarking on his ultimate gig,” the rabbi says.
Micky is survived by his wife Katherine, daughter Liorah, stepdaughters Diane, Rachel and Rebecca Paxton, and grandchildren Martha and Toby Stueward. he was predeceased by his son Kenneth.
The Jazz Society of Fairfield County will present a memorial program on Thursday March 21 (6:30 p.m., Pearl at Longshore). Greg, and Chris Coogan and his trio, will play. They invite Micky’s fellow “senior statesman musicians and collaborators” to join them for the second set.
A scholarship fund has been created, to support a local student pursuing jazz at a college or conservatory. Click here to donate.
(Click here for Micky Golomb’s memorial page on the JazzFC site.)