Leonard Garment, R.I.P. (1924-2013)

July 15, 2013

The lawyer, advisor and counsel to Presidents, arts advocate, jazz saxophonist, and founder of The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, passed away peacefully at his New York City home this past Saturday, at the age of 89.

This is the time to remember and celebrate Len’s long life and championing of many good causes. His guidance of the National Arts and Humanities Endowments during his Nixon years, his work on behalf of Native Americans, the years with Pat Moynihan at the U.N., and the Ellington Birthday party at The White House are among the many, many achievements that his innate modesty prevented us from knowing.

Starting in 1995, Len marshaled federal, state and local resources to start the movement towards the creation of The National Jazz Museum in Harlem. In 2002, he moved to New York to set up the Museum offices in Harlem, from which he continued his vital work as Board Chairman, a role he held until 2005, when he became Chairman Emeritus. He remained an indispensable advisor to the NJMH.

A good introduction to Len remains his book, Crazy Rhythm: From Brooklyn And Jazz To Nixon’s White House, Watergate, And Beyond, which captures his razor-sharp intellect and trademark humor.

Len is survived by his wife, Suzanne, and his daughter, Annie.

The funeral will be private.