But on this occasion, it's Jimmy Amadie himself who poses the question. I've asked him, given the severe tendonitis in both hands that sidelined his career more than four decades ago and the health problems that have plagued him in recent years, why he feels the need to return to the stage at all.
"Let's be honest," he answers, sitting in a recliner in his Bala Cynwyd home, right next to the grand piano he can rarely touch. "Who the fuck is Jimmy Amadie? Where's he been? He's a musician like everybody else — why doesn't he play? Is he lazy? Is he a bum? Well, if it takes your hands to play and you have no hands, you can't play."
I can posit one answer to his rhetorical question. Jimmy Amadie is a fighter. Once upon a time, as a young man growing up in the city's Tioga section, literally so: He was a boxer, as well as a baseball and football player. To this day, he repeatedly wishes that his lung cancer, diagnosed four years ago, would take human form and fight him like a man. "I'll kill the motherfucker" is a virtual mantra for Amadie, one that it would be foolish to doubt.
(from Shaun Brady's 2011 cover story on Jimmy Amadie)
I'm sad to report that Philly jazz legend Jimmy Amadie has passed away. He was, simply put, an amazing man. After a promising start to his career — playing with the likes of Red Rodney, Mel Torme, Woody Herman and so many more — he was diagnosed with severe tendonitis that limited him to just a few minutes of practice per month. Still, this didn't stop him from recording CDs, writing books and, as recounted in Shaun Brady's cover story from 2011, playing one final concert at the Art Museum.
If you haven't yet, read it now. It's a classic Philly comeback story: One Last Show.
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