Jazz world mourns Garden City death

Piano-playing songwriter and Grammy nominee Mantooth dead at 56

Sunday, February 1, 2004

— Grammy award-nominated jazz musician Frank Mantooth died Friday at his home in Garden City. He was 56.

Coroner Harold Perkins said Mantooth died from natural causes but couldn't be more specific. Perkins said final autopsy results have not been released.

"Frank was a very important jazz musician, not just in the Midwest, but in the entire jazz world," said Mike Metheny, former editor of the Kansas City, Mo., publication Jazz Ambassadors Magazine. "This is news in the global jazz community."

Mantooth was born April 11, 1947, in Tulsa, Okla. His mother played the piano and he followed in her footsteps. By the age of 14, he was playing in public.

He earned his bachelor's degree in music from North Texas State University in 1969 and contributed arrangements as a member of the Air Force Academy Falconaires.

He followed that with seven years in Austria, where he earned his piano degree from the Vienna Hochschule fuer Musik in 1977.

Among his accomplishments, Mantooth was commissioned to write music for Doc Severinsen, the Kansas City Symphony and Madison Symphony Orchestra. He published more than 165 works for combo and jazz ensembles since 1978.

He also made five of his own albums that yielded 11 Grammy nominations. The accomplishments won him a listing in the 2001 edition of Groves Dictionary of Jazz.

Mantooth also taught at several universities, high schools and summer jazz camps.

His transition to Garden City began with a one-semester residency at Garden City Community College in 1995. While in Garden City, he met his future wife, then Carrie Hermann.

A vigil service and rosary are set for 8 p.m. Monday at St. Mary Catholic Church in Garden City. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the church.

Bluesman's death linked to suicide

Wichita (ap) -- Police have arrested a man suspected in the death of a blues musician.

Police, using ballistics tests, linked Thomas "Gene" Metcalf's shooting to the weapon used in the motorist's suicide early Thursday.

Metcalf, 80, was a drummer and vocalist who sometimes sold alcohol from his home, friends and relatives say.

Stemming from the suicide investigation, a 20-year-old man was arrested and remained jailed Friday in Sedgwick County. Police said the man could face a charge of first-degree murder in Metcalf's death. The case will be presented to the district attorney's office.