James Rothermel
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James Rothermel With great regret we announce the passing of Jim Rothermel after a 10 month battle with leukemia. Jim has been a member of the Bay Area music scene since the late '60s when he moved here from Virginia. An incredibly talented musician, Jim was amazing on the clarinet and alto, tenor, and soprano sax, and was adept playing the flute, harmonica, recorder, and more. Jim was featured in over 100 albums, spread over many genres, mainly jazz, swing, Dixieland, and rock. Jim has played and recorded with many musicians, including Maria Muldaur, Jesse Colin Young, and Van Morrison. He put out CDs of his own with original compositions, "Memories of You," NeoClassic Swing," and another soon-to-be-released CD. Jim leaves behind his sweetheart of 11 years, a son, 2 daughters, 5 grandchildren, and countless friends. Thanks so much to all his friends who supported him emotionally and financially with the benefit concerts in his time of need. Jim's ashes will be strewn at sea with family attending, according to his wishes. A memorial jam session for friends and fellow musicians will be held in the future.

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Published in San Francisco Chronicle from May 21 to May 22, 2011.
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14 entries
August 27, 2020
I spoke to James 20 years ago from Cape Town after publishing a rock history music book and giving credit to many of his recordings, A gifted person that I am sure is now in the courts of the almighty still playing his mesmerizing tunes
Shiloh Noone
May 16, 2020
An inspiration to all who knew him, Jim was as good a musician as he was a human being. He took the time to nurture all who were fortunate enough to be on stage with him and I personally was blessed with his shared insights into music and life. In '84 I produced a single for Doc Fingers and hired Jim to play sax. In one take he played a brilliant solo. Being a 'green' producer I asked for just one more take to see what other ideas he might come up with. He gently told me that this was the exact solo for this song and no further takes were necessary. Decades later I still see the wisdom of his words-it was simply perfect as it was. I will never forget him or his unsurpassed musicianship.
Jack Lavin
May 15, 2020
Jim was one of the best horn players I ever worked with, and we did a lot of gigs together in canada and Switzerland. We called him "MR SCIENCE", and "GENTLEMAN JIM". When you played with jim it was a very pleasant music lesson, we all learned a lot from him. DOC FINGERS, CANADA
DOC Fingers
December 13, 2019
Jim, your playing on Van Morrison's Veedon Fleece is ethereal and mesmerising. It will be with me all my life, and for that I am eternally grateful to you.
MICHAEL Santamaria
June 20, 2011
What a talent! Thanks for adding the layers of raw emotion to many songs: Ridgetop, T-Bone Shuffle, Miss Hesitation. A great partner to Jesse not unlike "The Big Man" to Bruce or Lindley to Browne. Thanks for sharing your gifts.
Lee Pinover
May 26, 2011
He made some of the sweetest sounds I've ever heard come out of a clarinet, knew all anyone could want to know about swing music, and was gracious enough to share all of that and more. In Heaven, in my prayers.
Anne Wilson
May 24, 2011
I will miss you Jim and I am sure I am among a throng of people who have loved your musical voice over the years. You are gone but the music we made together will always be here. Right now Ridgetop is being played on some radio station in the US or Europe or Asia. Your passion and insight will always be alive. God bless and safe journey my friend.
Jesse Colin Young
May 23, 2011
One of the best reed men with whom I've had the honor and pleasure to share the stage - a wonderful person as well -- RIP
Phil "Roscoe" Gallo
May 23, 2011
Jim will be very much missed. I have been repairing his clarinets and flute for over twenty years and have always enjoyed his kindness, humility and soft-spoken, sweet nature. His yearning to help others, and embracing new technologies were refreshing. Such a real human being and natural musician. The world is poorer without him.
Daniel Deitch
May 22, 2011
I remember Jim very well. He was a wonderful person as well as a very talented and versatile musician. Sad to hear of his passing.
Judy Friend
May 22, 2011
It was an honor to meet Jim and to hear him play. He was the real deal. He played alto in a classical sax quartet with me a couple times and he was nothing short of amazing. I'm glad I could work on his horns when he needed it. I miss him. My best wishes to his family.
Tony Bigham
May 22, 2011
Always an honor to have been on the bandstand with Jim and his wonderful musicianship.
Ed Margolin
May 22, 2011
Rest in peace, Jim. You were as good as they come.
Rick Walsh
May 21, 2011
I am so sorry to hear about Jim. We knew him in the old days playing at Pt. Richmond & of course with Rex Allen. He would play "Why" for me if he could fit it into the bill. He will be missed by many. Sincere wishes to his family....Jill Anderson (Stockton & Florida.
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