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Ronnie Mathews

(12.2.35 – 6.28.08)

Ronnie Mathews

Ronnie was a well-respected and much-beloved figure on the scene. It’s hard for those of us who have known him as long as we did to believe that he’s gone.

I met Ronnie in 1958, a few years after I moved to New York. Ronnie had been a medical student for a while and then he changed over to music and fell in love with jazz. His parents had earned enough to buy a brownstone in Brooklyn by working in the subway token booth, both of them. I remember going over to his parents’ house back then. They had a pool table in the basement and a small piano down there, and a grand piano on the first floor. And we used to all go over there because the welcome mat was always out. His mother loved to cook for the musicians. In fact, I rented a room in there. She used to rent out rooms to those of us who needed places to stay cheaply, with a bathroom down the hall. And we could eat there if we wanted to. So that was great … room and board. Especially in the house of someone whose son was a musician.

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