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Topic: The Llahngaelhyn
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October 16, 2013 at 5:02 PM
Northwest jazz lost an exceptionally talented and eccentric figure last week when bassist/pianist Jerome “Jerry” Heldman died of pneumonia.
Mr. Heldman was the proprietor and also a performer at the Llahngaelhyn, a legendary coffee house located in the fairy castle-like building just south of the University Bridge that hosted jazz from 1965 to 1968.
Mr. Heldman died Oct. 11 in Yacolt, Clark County, after being bedridden for two years with heart failure and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. He was 76.
The Llahngaelhyn was known for all-night jam sessions, where touring musicians such as pianists McCoy Tyner and Chick Corea and saxophonist Roland Kirk dropped by, and local players such as bassist David Friesen, guitarist Larry Coryell, saxophonist Carlos Ward and guitarist Ralph Towner cut their teeth. The late Seattle beat poet, Jesse Bernstein, was also a regular.
“The Llahngaelhyn had a very great influence on the music in this place,” recalled Friesen in a book about Seattle jazz history.
Born Feb. 24, 1937, in Fargo, N.D., Mr. Heldman was raised in Seattle, attended West Seattle High School and served in the Air Force from 1955 to 1959. After returning to Seattle, Mr. Heldman got a desk job with the Seattle Police Department, but he quit when his work came into conflict with his life as a jazz musician.
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