Al Singer, one of the Valley's most prominent jazz promoters, died on March 3. He was 77 years old. Singer's passion for jazz started in the 1930s, when movie Westerns exposed him to the sounds of swing. For Singer, it was an early stimulus for jazz, and by the 1940s, he was deeply engrossed in the music of jazz greats like Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, and Lester Young.
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He started playing and promoting jazz in his home state of Michigan in 1946, but he really became prolific when he and his wife bought a house in Carefree in 1990. In addition to serving on the boards of both the Arizona Classic Jazz Society and Jazz in AZ, Singer put on the Steinway Piano Jazz Showcase at Herman & Sons Piano Merchants in Scottsdale.
He also established weekly "Jazz Tuesdays" at the Rhythm Room, regularly booking Arizona virtuosos like John Shea, Lucas Pino, and Joey DeFrancesco. Singer worked with Arizona State University to promote Jazz Appreciation Month, and he also worked with all of the local community colleges, promoting groups like Young Sounds of Arizona, a jazz ensemble at Glendale Community College. All of Singer's shows were smoke-free, and his goals were simple: "I want to create that core of true believers."