Late Mantooth inducted into Jazz Hall of Fame

Two years after his death, noted jazz musician Frank Mantooth continues to demonstrate his impact.

Mantooth will receive the International Association of Jazz Educator’s Jazz Hall of Fame award in New York City on Thursday.

“It’s well-deserved,” says Mantooth’s widow, Carrie, a Lawrence elementary school counselor. “I’m sorry more of it didn’t happen when he was alive. He worked very hard.”

The ceremony will be attended by Carrie and her 9-year-old son Matthew, who will accept the award in honor of his father.

Noted jazz pianist Mantooth died of a heart attack in 2004 while living in Garden City as part of an artist in residency program.

At the time of Mantooth’s death, he was enthralled with an ambitious big-band project in which a dozen female vocalists were paired with a jazz standard that he specifically arranged for them. Carrie unsuccessfully lobbied to get the CD, “Ladies Sing for Lovers,” a posthumous Grammy nomination en route to a win. (Mantooth had received 11 previous Grammy nominations but never won the award.)

Since Mantooth’s passing, he has accumulated numerous honors – many stemming from his relentless work in teaching jazz. He has been inducted into the Illinois and Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame; the United States Air Force issued and dedicated a CD project in his name, as did the Boulevard Big Band; New Trier High School, which plays host to the largest high school jazz festival in the United States, renamed its event the Frank Mantooth Jazz Festival at New Trier.

Carrie says, “It is a privilege and honor to be able to accept the well-deserved awards on Frank’s behalf. Frank would be as he always was: amazed, humbled and extremely grateful.”