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Arts Desk

My Fond Memories of Interviewing Terry Teachout, Who Has Died At 65

"Satchmo At The Waldorf" Off-Broadway Opening Night - After Party
Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage
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WireImage
Playwright Terry Teachout attends the "Satchmo At The Waldorf" Off-Broadway Opening Night after party in 2014 in New York City. Teachout died on January 13, 2022 at age 65.

I read with sadness about the passing of Terry Teachout, whom I knew as theater critic, jazz musician, playwright, and biographer of jazz greats. And that was just part of who he was.

He was disarmingly nice and approachable. When in late 2012, his play about Louis Armstong behind the scenes, Satchmo at the Waldorf, was running at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, I reached out to him for an interview.

We discovered that the Friday and Saturday he was in Philadelphia, I would be in New York for whole weekend; he graciously invited me to his NYC home for conversation on my way out of the city on Sunday. We talked about the play, and went on to chat about the role of sound and music in theater, with him sharing his love for playing the bass.

Terry Teachout interview
Listen to Susan's 2016 interview with Terry Teachout about his Ellington biography, "Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington.'

Some years later we talked again when his biography of Duke Ellington came out. Both insightful and unpretentious, he exuded joy, good humor, and warmth.

It was a pleasure to talk with him. About anything. Anytime.