Hispanic musician dies while playing the harmonica in a jazz workshop

BAKERSFIELD, Calif.- The Kern County music community mourns the death of Mark Infante, during a session of the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop on Tuesday night.

Held at the Petroleum Club at Sundale Country Club in southwest Bakersfield, the organizers of the weekly workshop had invited Mark Infante, a much-loved and talented harmonica player and singer, to give a clinic on the little musical that had been his obsession. and companion since childhood.

“Mark was the guest artist in the workshop that night”said drummer Zanne Zarow. “He was a virtuoso harmonica player. He played like a full rhythm section, at the same time he played the melody.”

Infante, 69, had a briefcase full of harmonicas on stage with him, Zarow said.

That night, Infante demonstrated various harmonicas and then dazzled the audience by performing a John Phillip Souza composition, “Stars and Stripes Forever,” to applause.

Halfway through her show, she smiled and fell back from her stool. They gave him cardiopulmonary resuscitation until the paramedics showed up, but there was nothing they could do for him.

Who was Mark Infante?

Mark Infante was a 69-year-old musician born and raised in Milford, Connecticut. In his last performance he told a story to the audience about a day in his childhood when a teacher brought some harmonicas to class and said that students could buy one for $2.50. Young Mark pooled the money, bought his first harmonica, and never let go of it.

On Tuesday night, a friend took Mark’s phone and called his brother David to break the news:
“I was in my car and on my way to Bakersfield,” said David Infante, who was grateful for the outpouring of love and condolences from the Bakersfield music community, as well as from music lovers and fans in Bakersfield and around the world. Kern County.

Infante loved the blues, but he could also play jazz, Christmas songs, Italian classics, patriotic pieces, and much more.

He could also take apart a harmonica and modify it to get perfect tuning, said his friend, guitarist Tim Stonelake.

“Mark was excited about his performance at the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop on Tuesday,” he said. “He had prepared a set of songs, with additional commentary on the history and mechanics of harmonica music, and he knew it would be good.”

The Bakersfield Jazz Workshop will create a scholarship in Mark Infante’s name, said its director, Steve Eisen, a jazz trumpeter.

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Hispanic musician dies while playing the harmonica in a jazz workshop