Obituary: Mike Meyerowitz

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The Independent Online
MAY I ADD a footnote to Laurence Joyce's admirable portrait of Mike Meyerowitz (6 September)? writes Clive Small. I met him when I was a student at the University of Cape Town and he was already an accomplished classical clarinettist. But there was more to Mike than that.

After a Mozart concert in the City Hall, he would cross town and play his own spritely style of jazz at the Stardust Club. He revelled in the Benny Goodman Trio and Quartet; and it was his collection of Vocalion editions of Billie Holiday that got his group of friends hooked on jazz. To us, Cape Town in those student days was the right place and time for our own effort: 'My Skin, Your Skin Blues'.

He made us black, white and brown,

Lord made us black, white and brown:

Saw what he'd done, and took a train out of town.

Mike would abandon the last chorus, and warble off in pursuit of some ideal note from his clarinet. He had a gentle, impish humour, but he was a serious professional in the pains he took. Now, I imagine, he's caught that elusive note, and he's found the perfect reed.