Russell Garcia, the composer, conductor and arranger renowned for his stellar collaborations with Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, Anita O'Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Judy Garland, Frances Faye, Mel Tormé, Frank Sinatra and numerous others as well as film scores for George Pal's The Time Machine and Atlantis: The Lost Continent and his orchestrations for Charlie Chaplin's Limelight, died Sunday, November 20, 2011. He passed away peacefully at his home in Kerikeri, New Zealand, with Gina Mauriello Garcia, his lyricist and wife of 59 years, by his side. He was 95.
In April, Mr. Garcia performed three 95th birthday concerts throughout New Zealand with New York vocalists Shaynee Rainbolt and Terese Genecco and New Zealand singer Tim Beveridge.
Mr. Garcia, who was fondly known as Uncle Russell by his much-younger musical collaborators around the world, was scheduled to continue his 95th birthday celebration during a three-city U. S. tour at jazz clubs in Los Angeles (Catalina's), Oakland (Yoshi's) and New York City (Iridium), but he suffered collapsed vertebrae the week before he was set to travel. Instead, the Los Angeles concert was cancelled and his tour partners, Ms. Rainbolt and Ms. Genecco, paid tribute to Mr. Garcia and his music at Yoshi's on November 1 and at Iridium on November 6. The Garcias enjoyed the Oakland concert via Skype while the New York celebration was streamed live, with Mr. Garcia and his wife commenting on the music and musicianship throughout both evenings. It's hard to believe that we're sitting here in New Zealand on Monday afternoon taking part in a live concert in New York on Sunday evening, Mr. Garcia said about the technology of live stream.