In Memoriam: Chuck Gee

It is with great sadness that I have to announce that our world-class music engraver, Chuck Gee, has departed this world. Chuck was perhaps the greatest music engraver in the world, but more importantly, a superb human being — always looking on the positive side of things, always ready to be of service to the world and the music he loved so much. There will be a Celebration of his Life later this spring and we'll keep you informed about that so those of you in the Bay Area can attend if you wish. Meanwhile, let's take a page from Chuck's book and greet each day with fresh and sparkling eyes. Rest in peace, our brother.”
— Chuck Sher, March 31, 2014

Chuck was born in San Francisco on July 13, 1949. His parents and three siblings moved to Pacifica, (a small and serene coastal California town just south of San Francisco), where they owned and operated a Chinese restaurant. Chuck was always naturally bright, and was a quick study of any subject that interested him. Although he graduated from high school at the age of 16, he did not begin playing the piano until he was a music student at the University of California at Hayward. It was there he studied music, and like so many teens in the 60's, he learned to play guitar, harmonica, acoustic bass, and what would become his true love...playing the piano.  It would be soon afterwards that he was introduced to Jazz, which stirred up such passion within him - and which would shape and change his life forever more.

Although Chuck had regrets that he had not started playing music earlier in his life, it did not affect his quest and determination to listen to and study the music of as many Jazz greats as he could at that time. Whether it was listening to Coltrane, Evans, Monk, Getz, Parker, Davis, Peterson, Byrd, or numerous other incredible musicians - they all had an influence on him throughout the rest of his life. He loved all types of Jazz and especially loved attending live Jazz performances throughout the Bay Area, and later in New York and in Europe.

Chuck was just as passionate about many other interests - and shared his passions and talents freely with so many people in his circle as a chef, accountant, linguist, and avid traveler.  His love for photography over the years was mostly a hobby for Chuck, but during the last decade of his life, he began to emerge as a serious and talented photographer - who learned to combine his love of Jazz with his love for photography. He freely gave photos to many musicians, some of whom have gone on to use those photos for printed or promotional materials.

Chuck has proudly had several Jazz photographs of both well known and lesser known musicians on exhibit since August of 2013 in Santa Cruz, California. Over the last five years, Chuck became a regular photographer at Yoshi's Jazz Clubs in both Oakland and San Francisco, at The Monterey Jazz Festival, Stanford Jazz Workshop, San Francisco Jazz Center, and of course - one of his favorite places to photograph, network, and socialize - the Jazz Educator's Network events, held all over the country. It was at the JEN events that Chuck was so excited to see so many of the regular exhibitors, attendees, musicians, and all those involved in the production and administration of JEN events.

Chuck was honored by his association with Sher Music Co., the Jazz Educator's Network, and all those he has had the pleasure of meeting, listening to, and working with over the years at these special events.

To Chuck Gee -- one of the coolest cats EVER!!!  Thank you for the good times, excellent music notation and editing, cool jazz, and great photos!  Until the next time. . .You will never be forgotten!”
— Cat Gonzales, April 18, 2014

Chuck Gee and I became friends through working together on many books published by Sher Music. He was a extremely generous and caring person. I admired his expertise in music engraving and photography. Bobbe Norris and I have been fortunate enough to have several of his photographs in our archives that we regularly use in promotion. Hr graciously came to performances, took photographs and sent us the best to use as we liked. He did the same for countless other musicians.

Chuck was very enthusiastic about music, particularly jazz. We had many talks about various musicians and concepts of music. His love and thirst for jazz was very deep.    He often asked my thoughts on some solo or tune or musician. He was always searching for a clearer understanding of this music.

The friends who came into Chuck's life found him a very caring person, happy to help in any situation. He freely gave of his time and knowledge. Many's the time I would phone him at midnight to ask a question about some music notation problem I was having. He was always happy to share his knowledge.

I miss Chuck and think of him daily. His was a gentle spirit and one that brought a warm light into the world.”
— Larry Dunlap, April 18, 2014

Everyone has a song, and the song that was given to Mr. Chuck Gee was the song of gentleness. Sometimes it takes lifetimes for us to meet such a force, but in this life I had the honor to meet a fellow traveler with such a  song .....And it was Chuckie.
Thank you for your Beautiful Soulful Music. Maybe we will meet again somewhere down the road, but if not, your lessons of LOVE will stay with us Forever and ever.
Rest in Peace, my Beautiful Brother.”
— Michael Aragon, April 19, 2014

For a sampling of Chuck's wonderful jazz photos, please see His name is given on the right-hand column for his photographs.