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Farewell: Fred Ho

8.10.57–4.12.14

Fred Ho
Fred Ho

Turning the Monkey trickster loose, Fred says in rare cryptic form on a subway platform, “Are you ready when the time comes to put down the saxophone and pick up a shovel?” While the train approaches, thoughts turn the metal of horn and shovel into the earth for either a burial or vegetable garden, and the conversation takes on a martial stride-further down the line, having turned defensive, the instruments are now weaponry. This is my stop, and in reluctant shape-shifter fashion, Fred’s war call becomes his love call and we embrace, two family members, different yet the same: one pursuing revolution; the other, resolution. Here is but one Fred Ho moment, for me: intense and direct, brutally truthful, raising consciousness at whatever the cost, with an unparalleled love for life. Ultimately, reflected in his sound is a hero’s automythography, forcing open an aperture for all resonances to exist together, without any one colonizing the other. Shortly after Fred’s passing, I sent the following to members of his Green Monster Big Band:

Dear Friends of Fred’s Music,

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Originally Published