Benefit concert for jazz pianist to take place Jan. 31

January 26, 2012 | Events, UToday
By Angela Riddel

Several musicians are slated to perform a benefit concert to raise funds for UT jazz faculty member and well-known pianist Claude Black.

Pianist Claude Black and bass player Clifford Murphy performed at a Black History Month event at the University in 2007.

The UT jazz faculty and several community members, including Jeff Halsey, Ron Brooks and George Davidson, have put together a fundraiser for Black to be held Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 8 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall.

Black teaches jazz voice at the University and is an active, sought-after musician, performing in a number of local and regional venues. Recently, health issues have curtailed his ability to play, which is a major source of his income.

“He was admitted to The University of Toledo Medical Center just before Christmas with failing kidneys, high blood pressure and the return of cancer,” said Gunnar Mossblad, director of the UT Jazz Studies Program and professor of music. “Fortunately, we did not lose him, but he has a long way to go, to say the least.

“Claude, our jazz pianist and friend, has for decades given all of us in the greater Toledo area, and the world, beautiful music and so much of his generous spirit, and I can say without hesitation that he is one of the most caring individuals and wonderful musicians I have ever met and had the honor to make music with,” Mossblad said. “And now it’s time for us to step up and give something back to him because Claude is very sick.”

Circumstances like Black’s are all too common, according to Mossblad.

“Like so many of our aging jazz masters, Claude simply does not have the financial means to cover these sudden expenses,” he said, adding that many musicians rely heavily on performances to pay the bills.

Tickets are $3 for students and seniors and $5 for the public; 100 percent of the admission proceeds will go to Black. Additional donations also will be accepted.

If you cannot attend the show, the UT Department of Music will accept donations on Black’s behalf. Donations can be made in the department office, Center for Performing Arts Room 1002, or by mail to:

Claude Black
c/o Gunnar Mossblad & UT Jazz Studies Program
UT Department of Music MS605
The University of Toledo
2801 W. Bancroft Street
Toledo, OH 43606

Checks should be made payable to Claude Black.

Mossblad said he is grateful to the musicians and to The University of Toledo for helping to make the concert possible: “I’m so proud of this community and what we are, more and more, coming to stand for and embody in these difficult times.”

For more information, contact Mossblad at or 419.530.4555.

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