Hundreds remember jazz legend with fitting tribute
WAUSAU (WAOW) -- Central Wisconsin is mourning the loss of a jazz legend. Sid Kyler was supposed to be the star of the show at Friday's 4th annual Sid Kyler River Valley Jazz Festival in Wausau. Instead, they honored his legacy.
He'll be remembered for his sound.
"Powerful trumpet,” said Don Zamzow, co-owner of Bull Falls Brewery.
“He had this iconic aura around him,” added Tim Buchholz, vice president of the River Valley Jazz Society.
Sid Kyler was born in Wausau in 1927. He was considered a pioneer and a jazz legend.
“It was noticeable when Sid wasn't at a concert because he played a very powerful horn,” said Zamzow.
Kyler grew up in Wausau. In the 1950's he started the Sid Kyler Dixieland Jazz Band.
“He really helped carrying that tradition of jazz in the '50s and '60s in the Wausau area when it was dying a little bit,” said Buchholz.
“I saw him a few times, he was always very good,” said Louis Pradt.
Pradt joined Kyler's band in 1954.
“I was noticed by Sid Kyler who was kind of a semi-god to me,” said Pradt. “We got our 10 or 12 dollars for playing and that was some significant money so we enjoyed that too. But, it was mainly the love of music. "
For decades the two were side by side. Clarinet in Pradt's hand, trumpet in Kyler's. Music was always in the air.
"He was a fun guy as they say, fun to be with, he always had something amusing to say about everything,” said Pradt.
The band traveled the state. But on Friday they found themselves back home, playing at one of their favorite places: Bull Falls Brewery. It's an event named after the jazz legend.
“Without him, that's going to be special, and, well, sad,” said Pradt. “Sad but a joyous occasion."
As they say, the show must go on. After all, that's the way Kyler would want it.
“It's hard to match what Sid could do,” said Pradt.
Kyler's band will perform a tribute concert to him at 8 o'clock Friday night. In the place Sid used to stand, they will place his trumpet.
A fitting tribute to a man who meant so much to jazz music.