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RIP Sean Bergin (1948-2012)

The death on Saturday of Sean Bergin is being reported. Born in Durban in South Africa in 1948, the saxophonist/ flautist/ composer/ singer had lived in the Netherlands since the mid-1970’s, and received the Dutch VPRO/Boy Edgar Prize in 2000. Among British musicians he worked with are Phil Minton and Maggie Nichols. Biography

VPRO Nederland writes (my translation): “Sean had been ill for several years. But he had no desire to be “the patient”, and continued to play for as long as he could. Last weekend he was listed on the programme for the ZomerJazzFietstour (Summer Jazz Bicycle Tour) in Groningen, where he was scheduled to play with his own band. He didn’t make it. A giant has been brought down. From now on it will be a little quieter in Amsterdam.”

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  1. As a teenager I would go to a nightclub called Totem, at the Palm Beach Hotel in Gillespie Street, Durban, for an early evening session where Sean Bergin, guitarist Kenny Hensen, bassist Brian Gibson and percussionist Robbie Pavid would play a selection of covers and, I think, some of their own stuff. It was where I first heard Mose Allison's Parchman Farm. I can't remember if they were called Abstract Truth at this stage or if that came later – a real jazz-rock band. The Totem sessions were also memorable for the welcome iciness of the air conditioning in a sweltering Durban summer and for the fact that the band played In a Silent Way over the PA in between sets. Very happy memories.

  2. This is very sad news.

    On the day I arrived for the first time in Amsterdam, I met Sean, who immediately invited me to play on his gig that night.

    Sean was big in every way, and I am very saddened to know he has left this planet.

    I'll lift a glass for my friend tonight.

  3. I remember being at a concert of a dutch jazz ensemble at the Bimhuis, when during the act, Sean walked on stage and joined in, singing.
    He just could not resist.

    His session on Sundays at the cafe: The Engelbewaarder were always packed.

  4. His album 'Kids Mysteries' was the first CD I ever purchased back in the early 90's. I then had to buy a CD player to play it on! It's still a great favourite….

    RIP Sean.

  5. A sad day and a big loss. He made a lot of great recordings – but yeah, Pete, Kids Mysteries endures in a unique way for me. -MB

  6. I have wonderful memories of Totem, Abstract Truth and also of the informal sessions at 'Blue Note' in Durban. Can remember joining Sean an Kenny in one of the townships one night where they went to play with local black musicians. A wonderful time and a special person. RIP . VW

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