Inspirational jazz musician dies

Last updated 05:00 06/06/2014
Stuart Duncan Buchanan
Annette Turnbull-Dew
'A LEGEND': Christchurch saxophone player, teacher and composer Stuart Duncan Buchanan.

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New Zealand's music community has lost one of its longest-serving and most admired jazz musicians.

Christchurch saxophone player, teacher and composer Stuart Duncan Buchanan died at Christchurch Hospital on Wednesday, aged 83.

Former students, colleagues and admirers of Buchanan's music took to Facebook to post their stories and memories about the man many people nicknamed "Uncle Stu".

He was born into a farming family in the North Island's King Country region and moved to Christchurch as a young adult.

Christchurch musician Brian Hodges told The Press he remembered watching Buchanan perform with the Bob Bradford Big Band from the age of 10.

Buchanan was "an inspirational teacher" who was well-respected and loved, he said.

"He was a legend . . . there's no other word to describe him."

Hodges said that as a child Buchanan would "glue himself to the radio and whistle along to the popular songs".

"He was mostly self-taught and would listen to the tune and then work it out on the sax," he said.

Buchanan was most known for playing alto and tenor sax but could also play the clarinet and flute. He was the musical director for the Garden City Big Band for many years and last year released an album called Hey! What's the Time?.

Buchanan had a "crazy sense of humour and a pin-sharp memory" and would be sorely missed, Hodges said.

He is survived by his two sons, his brother Don, his partner Jill Fenton and his grandchildren Ashleigh and Tyler.

A private funeral is being held today but a public celebratory evening will be held on Sunday at the Woolston Club from 5pm.

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- The Press


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