Chris Vadala death: Tributes pour in after woodwind legend and inspirational educator dies

Chris Vadala
Chris Vadala playing with the College of Southern Maryland’s Solid Brass big band. Pic credit: Russ Cahn/YouTube

Jazz legend Chris Vadala has passed away.

Vadala was a highly sought after jazz and classical performer known for his proficiency with the flute, saxophone, and clarinet. Additionally, he was an educator at the University of Maryland where he worked as the Director of Jazz Studies. 

Vadala was also a Jazz tutor at the DeMatha Catholic High School for about 30 years.

Chris Vadala has performed in more than 100 recordings and worked with the likes of Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Placido Domingo, Chick Corea, Natalie Cole, Herbie Hancock, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and many other high-profile musicians.  

Many former students and fans of Chris Vadala have left tributes in the wake of his untimely death.  

Chris Vadala is regarded as one of the best saxophonists of all time. In tributes, many who knew him praised his humility and versatility as a musician.  

Chris Vadala was from Poughkeepsie, New York, and graduated from the Eastman School of Music for the saxophone. He received an M.A. in clarinet from Connecticut College as well as a Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree.

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Kathleen Vadala
Kathleen Vadala
1 year ago

Chris Vadala was a brilliant musician and teacher. He was generous with his time and encouraged his students to seek excellence.
He was a generous and supportive teacher and sent a number of students at the University of Maryland on to teaching careers of their own. His proficiency on multiple woodwind instruments enabled him to play a wide range of literature.