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Subject: John Von Ohlen, Jazz drummer (Stan Kenton, Woody Herman)


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Dead at 77
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Date Posted: Wednesday, October 03, 04:36:01pm

Drummer John Von Ohlen, co-founder of the Blue Wisp Big Band and featured soloist with the Stan Kenton and Woody Herman orchestras, died Wednesday, WVXU reports.

Von Ohlen, 77, was Cincinnati's premier jazz drummer for the past half-century. The Indianapolis native settled in Covington, living with singer Mary Ellen Tanner after touring with Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Mel Torme and the Holiday On Ice shows, as well as playing in pit bands for Broadway shows, according to his biography at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he was a jazz drums instructor.

In addition to five Blue Wisp Big Band albums, Von Ohlen played on recordings for jazz pianist Keith Jarrett, vocalist Carmen McRae, saxophonist Benny Carter and at the Berlin Jazz Festival. Locally, he played drums for the Steve Schmidt Trio and jazz guitarist Cal Collins.

"JVO," as he was known by musicians, also was the inspiration for the Cincinnati Jazz Hall of Fame, founder Kay Casey said.

Von Ohlen was the drummer's drummer. That was clear in a March 2009 one-hour WVXU-FM roundtable tribute to Von Ohlen with area jazz musicians, "A Celebration Of John Von Ohlen." The special will repeat 10 p.m. Oct. 6.

Von Ohlen had been in failing health for about a year. On April 30, there was a concert at the Greenwich Tavern in Walnut Hills to raise funds. A GoFundMe page was established in April to help pay for "medical issues that have resulted in some serious financial hardship."

Services are pending.

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/10/03/john-von-ohlen-acclaimed-jazz-drummer-dies-at-77.html

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