2 entries
  • "Upímnou soustrast, Jií Drobný, basista-..."
    - Jiri Drobny
  • "Outstanding musician and a good friend"
    - Jiri Drobny
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ARNET--Jan, jazz musician, engineer and mountain climber, died at home on May 13, 2017 at age 83. He was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He grew up in a musical family and though he studied mechanical engineering at university, he picked up bass playing and held a successful jazz music career throughout the 1960s. Jan became the leader of the National Czech Jazz Orchestra which toured throughout Europe in the early 1960s. He played on about 50 recordings throughout his jazz career. After arriving in the United States, Jan collaborated with jazz greats including Booker Irvin, Elvin Jones, Sonny Stitt, and Art Blakey. His last recording was while on tour in 1970 with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Jan was a lifelong outdoor enthusiast with a particular love of climbing the highest peak in each country that he was able to visit. He met his wife Angela while ice climbing in the Tatra Mountains 60 years ago and together they spent many vacations and weekends hiking, skiing, backpacking and rock climbing. Together they climbed to the top of many mountains around the world. He was an active member of the American Alpine Club and a contributor to Voice of America. In 1965, Jan smuggled his wife and daughter out of Communist Czechoslovakia via the Checkpoint Charlie border wall crossing in Berlin. They immigrated to the United States and settled in New York City. He left his bass playing career after 1970 and entered the world of finance and management. His last position before retiring was as Senior Vice President for Finance, Administration and Operations at the Asia Society. Jan is survived by his wife of 55 years Angela, his daughter Paula, his sister, Renata and two grandsons.

Published in The New York Times on May 28, 2017