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Art passed away at age 89 on February 15, 2010, in Roseville, Calif. Born in Norway, Mich., Art had been a resident of Roseville for 12 years. Art was a pioneer in the use of the accordion as a jazz instrument, and as a prominent jazz accordionist, he performed worldwide and made many recordings. He is survived by his wife Lory Lawry, daughters Sandra Mummert of Phoenix, Ariz., and Nancy Stompor of Elk Grove Village, Ill., son Arthur Van Damme of Napa, Calif., six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Visitation will be held on Friday, Feb. 19, from 3 to 8 p.m. at COCHRANE'S CHAPEL OF THE ROSES, Roseville, Calif. Services will be held on Saturday, Feb. 20, at 10 a.m. at St. Clare Catholic Church, Roseville, and burial will be in Chicago on Tuesday, Feb. 23. Remembrances in Art's name may be made to Vine Village Inc., 4059 Old Sonoma Rd., Napa, CA 94558.
Published by The Sacramento Bee on Feb. 19, 2010.
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33 Entries
I had the pleasure of meeting Art one time only. He was sitting at a table with his friend and legendary guitarist, Joe Pass, and I came over to say hello to Joe and tell him how much I enjoyed the show, and that I'd met him in concert many years before. He introduced me to the others at the table, and when he said, "...and this is Art van Damme," I nearly fell over. "The greatest jazz accordianist in the world!?" was all I could utter. Art was happy to meet a fan, and I was happy to have met him and shake his hand. He is a legend.
Robert Schoen (Oakland, CA)
May 7, 2010
I'm so sorry to hear about Art's passing. Playing with Art was my first major gig with such a fine musician. I never forgot the experience. What an exciting player! The arrangements were all top-notch too. Fortunately, that first time performing with Art turned into many more performances, each memorable. He taught me how to be a better musician and a better man.
Paul Yonemura
April 11, 2010
My father is a jazz accordianist and his idol was and always will be Art Van Damme. He and my mother got to see Art play many years ago when he was in our area and after the show he even got to meet and chat with Art for a while. It was a great highlight for my father because Art was such a great inspiration in his life. Thank you Art, your legacy will live on.
Linda Massey
April 10, 2010
I took lessons from Art when I was a kid, I was young so I don't remember exactly but it must have been the early 60s at his studio in Mt Prospect. He played at the studio some weekends with a group of jazz musicians, I can't remember who any of them were but it sounded great. I'm so sad that such a great musician who played an important part in my life has died.
Mark Leininger
April 2, 2010
you were my idol, never has there been a greater jazz accordionist than Art Van Damme i dont think there ever will be. Thanks for the help you shared with me in Florida.
Gerry Melillo
April 1, 2010
gerry melillo
April 1, 2010
I have seen Art VanDamme play at the Las Vegas International Accordion Convention many times. His presence will be missed.
I have his latest CD "The Legend Art Van Damme from his Scandianavian Tour, I will share this with our Northeast Wisconsin
Accordion Club. Patricia Lindsten, Secretary
Patricia Lindsten
March 6, 2010
Though I never met you personally, I saw video of you performing with my uncle Tony Dannon in 1997. Your accordion skills were extraordinary, a true virtuoso. You were an asset to the world of music. Your music will live on to inspire future generations of accordianists.
Marco Bertazzoni
March 6, 2010
I never thought in my wildest dreams as a child I would ever meet Art Van Damme. As an acccordion student in Downers Grove Illinois I only knew of Art as an icon and a legend from afar, another generation removed. I was overcome when Art was introduced to me and the Eaglesnest at the Sacramento Jazz Festival to the point that I added the accordion to my repertoire and eventually founded the Northern California Accordion Society with Art as an honorary charter member. There were many accordionists who shared a friendship with Art due to his humility and affability. I loved Arthur but never felt like he wanted supplicants and worshipful fans too close. He like any true gifted artist only loved the music and musicians. He encouraged me to apply for the Art Van Damme International Jazz Festival in 2005 where I was presented with a second place world standing as a Jazz accordionist. It is to this day, inspite of my resume as a pianist and arranger, one of the most significant moments of my carreer. To be considered by the greatest as Solomon said, " your gift brings you before greatness " is to fulfill the promise of seed well planted. Art has a harvest of accordion champions around the world who owe their respectability as musicians to this man. I am honored to have known Art and blessed to have been influenced by the finest accordionist who ever lived. Arthur, I love you dearly and hope to see you soon my brother. Sleep well our accordion prince, may the angels lift you to their song for us to follow. With humility and gratitude I bow to you. The round table is now closed.

Your eternal friend,

Peter Martin
NCAS President Emeritus
Rocklin, California
Peter Martin
March 6, 2010
Art Van Damme was, without question, the pre-emminent jazz accordionist in the world and an inspiration to me personally in my style of playing. I recall fondly 2004 when he and and his wife, Lory, came to Phoenix, Arizona, to do a benefit concert for our accordion club, raising $5,000. I have most of his CDs and play them often to recall a tremendously talented musician who I greatly admire. May the memories of Art more than fill the void that he leaves behind.
Bob Cantin
March 2, 2010
February 28, 2010
February 28, 2010
I spent many nights with Art during our high school and teenage years going from Nightclub to nightclub. Some nights he'd sit in with the musicians and this was after he played his sets at a club on Devon and Western. He will be missed.
Roy Schwabe
February 28, 2010
February 27, 2010
To my dear friend and fellow Jazz accordionist, I remember the great times we had playing the accordion at various functions as well as collaborating on music publications together.

I am truly grateful for the time we had together and will no doubt see you again in Accordion heaven!

You will be greatly missed. - Tony Dannon
Tony Dannon
February 27, 2010
February 27, 2010
Art's passing closes an era for the accordion we will likely never see again. He will be missed.
Sherwin Wasserman
February 27, 2010
Art was a huge inspiration to me throughout my musical career.
Will certainly miss you.
My last contact with him was in Arizona with his old friend and golf partner, Al Monte another great talent.
John/Johnny Koza/Kay
February 26, 2010
You have always been my inspiration. I've lisetened to your recordings since I was a teenager. Just listening to you has influenced my playing . I will certainly miss you. You have many fans in the UK. where I live. God bless you Art. Norman Baxter ( 69).
Norman Baxter
February 25, 2010
Art will be greatly missed. He helped raise the image of the accordion in the public's eye. For this, as a fellow squeezer, I will always be grateful.
Dennis Raffaelli
February 25, 2010
My dad introduced me to Art via 331/3 albums in the early 60s. I was able to see and hear him live in Grand Junction, CO in the early to mid 70s. The Van Damme sound will live on forever.
A real fan. Thanks for all the great music Art!!
Tom Mapson.
Tom Mapson
February 22, 2010
Art was a true icon in jazz music and epitomized the Chicago style jazz music of the bebop era. I grew up listening to Art play on the radio in Chicago and later had the good fortune of meeting him and hearing him play live at NAMM shows, as well as in concert and jazz club settings. He was always gracious and took time to sit down and visit. He will be missed!
Craig Smith
February 22, 2010
I grew up in Milwaukee, Carl Elmer was my teacher and Art was my true inspiration. Now I'm a trial lawyer, because only Art and a few others could live off of it. And now there is a new accordion mfg in Milwaukee, there is an annual accordion festival and Tex/Mex accordion polka music is huge. Art WAS a genius, and I hope he saw all this.
Jim Wing
February 22, 2010
First heard the music of Art Van Damme when I was 13 years old, played the track: " You don't know what love is," and when the track ended I was 113 years old!! Thank you for the music Art; R.I.P.

Lou Romano
February 21, 2010
Art was the biggest MAESTRO to all of us . I think he left us a very big patrimonium and will live with us. ton all accordions players and to the excelsior family players
Prof. Joram Kufert italy director of rehabilitation center specialized in musician patologies
Joram Kufert
February 21, 2010
Art was the biggest MAESTRO to all of us . I think he left us a very big patrimonium and will live with us. ton all accordions players and to the excelsior family players
Prof. Joram Kufert italy director of rehabilitation center specialized in musician patologies
Joram Kufert
February 21, 2010
My whole family loved watching the Art Van Damme quintet on TV in the 50's. We all played the accordion (not as well, of course).
carole kaiser
February 20, 2010
I remember watching Art on our new 10 inch B&W TV in 1949+. I was nine and had taken accordion lessons since I was 5....loved watching the Art Van Damme quintet.
carole ann kaiser
February 20, 2010
Thank you from bottom of my heart for all the wonderful music and the good and warm-hearted friendship through 35 years. Rest in peace my dearest good friend.
Eva T. Haugland
February 20, 2010
Thanks so much for helping me develop a strong interest in jazz music. Although a trumpet player, I find myself playing some of the motifs that I heard you play in the early '50's. You were a genius on your instrument, and I am so glad that you had a long career. Best to you and blessings and condolences to your loved ones.
Robert Strickland
February 20, 2010
Thank you for the wonderful music memories. Rest in peace my friend.
John Marquette, Jr.
February 20, 2010
For many years, Mr. Van Damme's recordings inspired me to play the style I do. It is some of the best quality jazz music I've ever heard. His passing is a huge loss to the music deepest sympathy to the family.
Chuck Vergan
February 20, 2010
May He Rest In Peace
jari salo
February 19, 2010
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