Tad Weed
1957 - 2018
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(News story) Tad Weed, associate professor of jazz piano at the University of Toledo, who demonstrated fluency at his instrument and command of his art in the classroom, studio, club, and concert hall, died Wednesday in his Ypsilanti, Mich., home. He was 61.

He had cancer, his wife, Marla Weed, said.

Mr. Weed was hired to the UT jazz studies faculty in 2011.

"He had a very unique musical voice on the piano," said Gunnar Mossblad, a UT professor of saxophone and jazz, who was director of jazz studies when Mr. Weed was hired. "He had lots of influences from the great players, but he had his own unique approach. He could do so much.

"Each professor tries to bring their real-life experiences to the classroom. He strived to do that at all times, and he was mentoring to his students in giving them experiences outside of the university."

Estar Cohen, a vocalist, composer, and 2015 UT graduate said, "He was teaching you, essentially, how to work as a musician."

Mr. Weed taught jazz piano, arranging, and improvisation, and was a director of Vocalstra, an ensemble founded by the late Jon Hendricks, the internationally renowned vocalist who returned to Toledo, where he grew up, to teach at UT.

Mr. Weed performed widely across northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan and also had taught at Bowling Green State University, the University of Michigan, Western Michigan University, Oakland University, and the University of Windsor.

"To me, he was by far one of the most underrated piano players of his generation," said Norm Damschroder, a senior lecturer of double bass and jazz at UT. "It was such a range. He could go completely into free jazz and suddenly he was playing these beautiful romantic flourishes."

A native of Jackson, Mich., Mr. Weed studied classical piano and composition at Central Michigan University and then moved to Los Angeles. He aimed to be a working musician, his wife said. He received bachelor's and master's degrees in piano performance and jazz studies from the Grove School of Music.

He was on the staff of Discovery Records. He performed with artists as stylistically diverse as singers Chaka Khan, Betty Carter, and Jack Jones; trumpeter Shorty Rogers and cornetist Bobby Bradford; saxophonist Stanley Turrentine and clarinetist John Carter.

For more than a decade, through the 1990s, he was music director for Paul Anka, accompanying the singer on stages around the world. He toured with such singers as Carmen McRae and Anita O'Day. He performed on more than 50 recordings, according to his UT biography.

"That deep knowledge of being a professional musician with some of the greatest professionals, that's an incredible bunch of skills - and stories and background - to bring to the academy," Mr. Damschroder said. "He knew the subject because he lived it."

Ms. Cohen, a Sylvania native, said that friends already at the university encouraged her to enroll because, they said, "You have to study with Tad," she recalled.

"There was a creative aura about him," said Ms. Cohen, recently recognized with a national award. "One of Tad's most impactful teachings that he left me with was the importance of finding and growing into your own unique voice with music and art and life in general. I really strive to reflect that generosity he had with his knowledge in my own teaching."

He was born May 5, 1957, to LaVergne and Worth Weed. His parents had a family band that performed in the Jackson area, and each child had an instrument.

"Tad started when he was about 3 or 4 and was playing tambourine," his wife said. His father later introduced him to the drums, but after the younger Mr. Weed developed an interest in keyboards, "all he would do is practice."

He was the youngest of four, and his parents took him to see musicians performing in the area, including at such Detroit jazz venues as the iconic Baker's Keyboard Lounge.

When he announced plans to get in his vehicle and head for the West Coast, "His mom and dad were very supportive," his wife said. "His mom and dad had been his largest support system throughout his life."

He was a graduate of Lumen Christi High School in Jackson.

Surviving are his wife, the former Marla Hendrickson, whom he married May 15, 2004; sons Joshua Weed and Mark Kruse; daughter Jennifer Steininger and Angela Weed; sisters Caryl Merritt and Jill Hunter; brother, Jack Weed, and three grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. Tuesday at Stark Funeral Service, Ypsilanti. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Faith Lutheran Church, Ypsilanti, where he was a member.

This is a news story by Mark Zaborney. Contact him at mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.
Published in The Blade on Aug. 26, 2018.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
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Visitation
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Stark Funeral Service
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11:00 AM
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
20 entries
September 23, 2018
My dearest Tadski,
You enriched my life in so many ways, musically, and as a true friend who I could share my dearest feelings with! Thank you for your friendship, musicianship and for your humor.I am so grateful you got to share your life with Marla.Rest in Peace dear friend and remember, "Swing it's Back" all my love your faithful friend ,
Anita Cortez
Anita Cortez Honeyman
Friend
September 12, 2018
I studied piano with and was always so inspired by his talent and support and kindness. It was a privilege to have known him and learn from him. May his family find solace in the memories of the time they had with him.
Gordon Krainen
Student
August 30, 2018
Was a student of tads in high school. His influence shaped the rest of my life and ultimately my pursuit of music. He was always one of my favorite piano players and was such a tremendously warm person. I think of him often and am happy knowing he will still continue to influence and inspire me (I was just working on some of the exercises he gave me almost 15 years ago). My thoughts are with his family.
Alex Krausman
August 27, 2018
Marla, I remember how happy you both were when you married.
I think you two were a wonderful couple.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Karen Downing
August 27, 2018
Marla and all The Weeds,
My fondest memories are of Christmas Eve at the Blair home, where my mom would prepare all day for the evening. I also remember many times at the Weed home while younger.
Marla, I remember the time you spent with dad while he was going through the steps to death while in hospice. It breaks my heart to hear of this loss. My heaven be rocking to the music that Tad brought to this world. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you.
Jan Blair
August 27, 2018
Jan Blair
August 27, 2018
Jan Blair
August 27, 2018
My sympathy and prayers to the Family. I enjoyed hearing Tad play Piazzolla with The Phoenix Ensemble at Kerrytown ...such talent!
Judy Moslak
August 26, 2018
I'm so saddened by this news. I studied with Tad, and heard him perform often...talent such as his is a very rare thing. And he was such a nice person besides. Thank you, Tad, for all the music. Sending condolences to his family.
Anne Crawford
August 26, 2018
At the GP War Memorial
I had the honor of hearing Tad play in person, and I talked to him, at his Jazz at Shields concert. A phenomenal talent, and a very gracious man. I am deeply saddened, and I will be praying for his dear family and friends, who were close to him. I am a musician and a private voice and piano teacher, so I truly understand the prodigy of his talent.
Elizabeth Malaga-Spica
August 25, 2018
Dear Marla,

Mady and I send our deepest sympathy to you and family. I have no words to properly express the sadness felt by Tad's departure. I am fortunate to have known Tad and experience his beautiful talent. Tad's music is in our souls forever. Thank you for making him happy.
Peter Soave
August 24, 2018
Dear Marla and Family,

I am saddened to hear of Tad's passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

I had the distinct honor and privilege to study piano with Tad as a first time, adult student. Everything about the time spent with Tad, from the technical learning to understanding the music to his wisdom and kindness, all came through seamlessly. I look fondly on that time I as able to spend interacting with him. (Incidentally, I was put in touch with Tad by my brother via Sean Dobbins, with whom we attended high school).

With sympathy,
Niraj Ganatra
Niraj Ganatra
August 24, 2018
2015 Michigan Jazz Festival
Andre B. Thomas
August 24, 2018
2015 Michigan Jazz Festival
Andre B. Thomas
August 24, 2018
2015 Michigan Jazz Festival
Andre B. Thomas
August 24, 2018
2015 Michigan Jazz Festival
Andre B. Thomas
August 24, 2018
2015 Michigan Jazz Festival
Andre B. Thomas
August 24, 2018
2015 Michigan Jazz Festival
Andre B. Thomas
August 24, 2018
2015 Michigan Jazz Festival
Thank you, Tad, for allowing me access to your wisdom and craft.

I won't forget you.
Andre Thomas
August 24, 2018
Clare Co., Ireland
Andre Thomas
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