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Laurence Mazel

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GUILFORD -- Laurence Mazel, 57, noted jazz musician, has died after a long illness.

He was in born in Cambridge, Mass., on Nov. 1, 1948. He lived in Boston, Lawrence and Andover, Mass.

During his high school years he was Northeast Regional tennis champion for New England, and studied Mandarin Chinese through a State Department intensive language course, pursuits which he maintained throughout his life.

He attended University of Massachusetts at Amherst, then Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he studied and played music with Cecil Taylor, Jimmy Lyons and Andrew Cyrille.

In the early 1970s, he moved to New York City where he began his music career as a trumpet player and composer and adopted his stage name, Raphe Malik. He played in concert with and recorded with Jimmy Lyons, Syd Smart, William Parker and Cecil Taylor.

During the 1970s and 1980s, he traveled extensively and was recognized as an icon in avant garde music by his fellow musicians and audiences alike.

He had the gift to traverse many different musical styles and genres, and his strength and endurance on the bandstand were unmistakably his own.

During the late 1980s, Mr. Mazel moved back to Boston and maintained himself setting ceramic tile, marble and granite, as well as playing concerts and recording CDs with his group, the Raphe Malik Quintet.

In 1992, he married Marguerite Serkin, and moved to Southern Vermont. He constructed their family home while teaching music at Bennington College, performing and recording in a wide spectrum of musical genres.

As his health declined, he continued to document his music and play live, and traveled as his health permitted.

Mr. Mazel was known by his friends and family as a colorful storyteller with an outlandish sense of humor. He made friends everywhere he went, and is beloved by many.

He is survived by his wife of 15 years; a daughter, Lena Mazel of Guilford; two son, Miles Mazel of Guilford; and a sister Marjorie Hecht of Leesburg, Va.

Donations in Mr. Mazel's memory made be made to the Musician's Emergency Fund in New York or Morningside Shelter in Brattleboro.
Published in Brattleboro Reformer on Mar. 9, 2006
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