We've just learned that Bud Shank died yesterday at his home in Tucson. Bud was Artistic Director of Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend for 21 years, and it's hard to overstate the impact he had on the program. Bud believed strongly that the most important credential for our faculty was that they be outstanding performers, and that they could also communicate the magic of what they do through their teaching. The program grew tremendously under this model, and we continue to follow it today. Bud's legacy here is deep.
When I arrived at Centrum as Jazz Program Manger in the fall of 1999 Bud immediately started working with me to plan the next summer's program. It was clear from the outset that he was passionate about setting a high standard. As with playing jazz, he felt the workshop could be a lot of fun, but in order to be fun it had to be good. I learned a great deal from him, for which I'll always be grateful.
While he was always known as a top-level sax player, early in his career Bud became highly sought after for his extraordinary flute playing. Once, in the early 1990's, I asked him once why he no longer played the flute. Looking at his alto he was holding, he said, "I came to a point in my life where I realized that if I wanted to be truly excellent at something I'd have to choose one thing to focus on, and I chose this." The intensity with which he said that has always stuck with me. Bud was recording in San Diego just two days before he died, and his playing was great. He went out swinging, for sure.
Thank you, Bud, for the excellence you created at Centrum through the hundreds of outstanding faculty and performers you brought, the workshop you nurtured and grew and, most importantly, your own musicianship and presence. All our best.
Gregg Miller, Jazz Program Manager