Music Industry Luminaries Offer Tribute to Friend, David Blumberg

Posted on April 17, 2011 by josh

April 17, 2011 marks the one year anniversary of David Blumberg’s passing.
The complete footage of the memorial celebration event’s video will be posted on August 1st anniversary of the event. In the manwhile we have posted a few excerpts of the celebration to share with you.
If you would like to post a message on this site, please feel free to do so.
Thank you for joining us here in celebration of David’s life.

Saxophonist Wayne Shorter and
composer/pianist Herbie Hancock
playing “Round Midnight”
John Clayton, bassist, composer,
conductor and ASMAC President
Stevie Wonder, singer-songwriter,
multi-instrumentalist and producer
David’s wife, Evelyne
Claude-Blumberg
Keb’ Mo’, singer, guitarist and songwriter Christopher Young,
film/Tv composer
Tariqh Akoni, guitarist
and songwriter
Jorge Calandrelli, composer,
arranger and orchestrator
Ellis Hall, vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist
On Aug. 1, colleagues, family, students and friends of the late arranger, composer and music educator David Blumberg gathered to honor his life and work at the SGI Friendship Center in Los Angeles.

Remarkable spoken and musical tributes by friends such as Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Mike Lang, Ellis Hall, Keb’ Mo’ revealed that David Blumberg had touched many lives, even beyond the high level and broad range of his musical achievements. The depth of love and gratitude to this unique individual was utterly palpable over the three hours of the tribute emceed by his long time friend and copyist Ken Gruberman.

Ellis Hall’s powerful song “Victorious” opened the ceremony. Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter led the Buddhist chant and sacred ritual, Gongyo and Daimoku, which David had practiced many years as a Buddhist leader. David’s life was essentially about Spirit. His truest desire was to create music that would move people towards enlightenment.

Ernie Shelby, who collaborated with Quincy Jones when DB (David’s nickname) worked at Venture and Motown Records, said “David Blumberg’s secret to success as an arranger was a direct result of his spiritual nature. He never pressed to use your recording as an opportunity to showcase himself”…
Quincy himself, in a video-tribute, spoke of his respect for his “brother David” as a person and as a professional.

In describing his experience with David in the recording studio, Christopher Young noted, “when I think of him, I think of this guy who had some sort of magic about him… How do you maintain this great attitude?” Herbie said, “When David walked into a room, the room would change… A warmth would just exude from his presence that made everybody very comfortable…” As his daughter Elodie put it, “He was Home.”

Each speaker would shine a light on a part of David’s life that others didn’t know. Jorge Calandrelli shared how generous David was as a friend.

Tommy White, David’s music business consultant praised David’s high
integrity and loyalty.

Most people present didn’t realize the scope of David’s life and career. Even his family and closest friends weren’t aware of his numerous gold or platinum records such as Michael Jackson’s first hit, “Got to be There” or the worldwide disco hit, “I Will Survive.”

Jazz bassist Bunny Brunel, via Skype, acknowledged his friend David as “one of the greatest arrangers of his generation” and pointed out, “It’s amazing how people don’t realize how important an arrangement is when making a hit song.”

David’s daughter and granddaughter,
Elodie and Brylee Hara

Tommy White, music business
consultant

Mike Lang, pianist
and composer

Ernie Shelby, composer, songwriter and producer

Ken Gruberman, music copyist and score supervisor

Tariqh Akoni, David’s EIS student (Lyle “Spud” Murphy’s Equal Interval System of music composition) spoke on behalf of his fellow students worldwide: “I think I speak for all of us when I say, we are proud to have been arrows in the quiver of the great archer.”

John Clayton, President of ASMAC, acknowledged David’s major contributions to the organization and his role in creating the successful Master Class Series, which led to the creation of the David Blumberg Education Fund.

Other musical tributes included an exquisite composition by renowned pianist Mike Lang, while Kevin Moore dedicated his touching song “One Friend” to David. Herbie and Wayne’s extraordinary interpretation of “Round Midnight” was particularly special since it was during his collaboration with Herbie that David met his wife, Evelyne, in Paris. Sharing his experience winning an Oscar, Herbie stated, “None of that would have happened without David.” And although Stevie Wonder joked about David being called a “cool white boy,” he had the audience in tears with his incredibly moving song.

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