The Obit For Lou Colombo

Lou Colombo killed in Florida crash

By Karen Jeffrey
Cape Cod Times
March 04, 2012

Lou Colombo, the heart beat of jazz on Cape Cod for more than half a century was killed late Saturday night in a car crash in Fort Myers, Fla.

According to the Fort Myers Press News, Colombo, 84, was killed when he turned onto McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers, and was struck by a vehicle heading north.

Friends say Colombo was returning to his winter home after a performance last night.

Born and raised in Brockton, Colombo began playing trumpet at age 12. He joined the military as a young man and had dreams of becoming a professional baseball player. He played for seven years, but a badly broken ankle forced his retirement from the Brooklyn Dodgers at the age of 24. Baseball's loss became music's gain.

Colombo played with some of the world's great jazz musicians including Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie. He taught generations of musicians through his love of jazz, played performances in clubs, restaurants, schools and nursing homes on the Cape.

In a July 1988 interview with Eric Jackson on WGBH, Gillespie said of him, "Lou Colombo is what I would call a trumpet painter, he resolves. He starts playing and the notes keep going, but the chord keeps changing all the time. He's a marvelous trumpet player.

"I went one night to hear him play. Boy, he asked me to play with him and I said ‘No- you got it Brother. I'm not going to jump into that hot water'. Lou's pretty weird the way he plays because he plays with just one hand. He plays the valves with his right hand but doesn't hold the horn with his left hand. This guy's amazing. I've been preaching his name ever since that night I first heard him down on Cape Cod ".

Locally Colombo was renown as a teacher and generous performer who frequently asked young musicians to play with him, said Paul Nossiter, veteran jazz musician and long time friend of Colombo who makes his home on the Cape.

"He was a giant..an open-hearted, generous man and musician who loved his family, his friends, music and food," Nossiter said. "This is a terrible loss for his family and friends, a real loss for Cape Cod."