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Old 04.11.2014, 10:01 AM   #1
tesla69
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NYC
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Not unexpected as we knew she had been ill but still very sad, it seems like it was just last year I saw her perform a solo set at the Stone on piano, quite imspirational to witness a 92 year old hammering away - I want to have that joy of life when i'm 90. She and her husband supported the downtown scene in ways we won't ever know that has benefited me and anyone who watches music in NYC.

from downtown music gallery

We are saddened to report the passing of Stephanie Stone earlier today. Mrs. Stone had recently turned 93 and had been struggling with cancer over the past few years. I recall meeting Stephanie and Irving Stone in 1979 (some 35 years ago!) at a small performance place called Studio Henry on the corner of Morton & Bleecker Sts. in the West Village. After seeing Fred Frith and Eugene Chadbourne play a duo set at that space in '79, I began attending sets there regularly. Studio Henry or One Morton (as it was also called) was a very funky basement space run by musicians, often poorly attended and way below the radar. This is where I first caught John Zorn, Dr. Chadbourne, Wayne Horvitz, Robin Holcomb, Elliott Sharp, Ned Rothenberg, Tom Cora, David Moss and Polly Bradfield. The first few times I caught Mr. Zorn play there, he played just mouthpieces, birdcalls and a cup of water, not even assembling his sax!?! Mr. Chadbourne was equally ridiculous, using balloons and odd objects to play his guitar in the most unorthodox ways. Being a jazz and prog snob, I wasn't even sure they could really play! I noticed an older couple, perhaps my parents age but actually ten years their senior, attending every gig there. I asked what they were doing there since I was still not taking Zorn and Chadbourne seriously as of yet. This couple were the Stones. They told me that they loved the music of these early Downtown pioneers ever since checking them out opening for David Murray a few years earlier. I was flabbergasted by their response. As I too became a fan of the early Downtown scene, I became friends with Stephanie and Irving, who became the godparents of that scene. We attended hundreds of gigs throughout the years and they befriended and encouraged many of those musicians. Word is that if the Stones were at your gig, you must being doing something right. Manny used to keep two special chairs for the Stones at his old store Lunch for Yor Ears, just in case they showed up for any of his weekly performances and needed a place to sit rather than on the floor. I recall many nights at the old Knitting Factory in the mid-to-late eighties, checking out musicians like Charles Gayle or Louie Belogenis. The only folks in the audience each and every week were the Stones, Yuko & Steve Dalachinsky and myself. I later found out that Stephanie Stone was a fine jazz pianist and vocalist who played in clubs during the bebop era. She met Stone just a few years before I met them in 1979, after raising a daughter and they soon got married. Stone passed away in June of 2003 and there was a lovely memorial for him at Tonic. Stephanie, who had continued to play piano throughout the years at home, and then started to play live again on special occasion. I caught a handful of her gigs over the past decade and was charmed by her piano playing and singing. She often complained about having to struggle to play but she sure sounded wonderful to me and the rest of her audience every time. Her duo with Dave Sewelson had played gigs in the past few years. Just two months ago, she attended the funeral of Downtown trumpet great Roy Campbell and then went to his memorial concert at Roulette while she was confined to a wheelchair and using an oxygen tank to breathe. Her performance that night was stunning and touched everone in attendance. You can check it out on youtube. The Stone is a performance space run by John Zorn, one of the few remaining places where music that falls between the cracks can still thrive. It is named after Irving Stone and you can see a picture of Stephanie on the top row of musicians who have curated there. As I sit here and think about the many gigs we have attended for more han three decades, I raise a toast to Stephanie Stone and smile. For as many birthdays as I can remember, Ms. Stone called me and most likely many of Downtown's finest musicians and sang Happy Birthday to many of lucky folks who knew her so well. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Manny 'Lunch' Maris and Chuck Bettis of DMG
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