Trenton jazz community rallies to help Kool and the Gang trombonist who needs liver transplant
TRENTON - Trenton residents, musicians and fans of the local jazz scene are rallying to help Kool and the Gang trombonist Clifford Adams, who is hospitalized and in need of a liver transplant.
Adams, a Trenton native, has been suffering with medical issues for about a year and has no health insurance. He is currently being treated at Capital Health Medical Center in Trenton.
His family and friends are raising funds to help pay his medical bills and get him transferred to a hospital where he can have a liver transplant, said Michael Ray, a longtime friend of Adams who also played the trumpet in Kool and the Gang.
“He is my oldest friend in life and he has put two kids through college playing the trombone, which is a miracle,” Ray said. “And now he needs help.”
Ray describes Adams, 63, as a loving and caring husband and father and a great friend.
“He is just fading away, fading away,” Ray said.
“Everybody thinks because you played with Kool and the Gang you must be rich,” Ray said. “But it is about playing a gig and getting paid, and if you can't play, well -- he has been on the sidelines for a little over a year now.”
Ray said he hopes his fellow musicians will rally around one of their own.
“All I can do is put the word out and Kool and the Gang are trying to step up to the plate,” he said.
Adams’ family and friends have been reaching out and asking for donations via Jazz Bridge, a nonprofit founded to help jazz musicians in the region though tough times.
So far, the group has raised over $4,000, said Wendy Simon Sinkler, who founded Jazz Bridge with fellow jazz singer Suzanne Cloud.
“People are coming together for the music and to help the musicians that we love,” said Simon Sinkler.
“The whole thing is really to rally for him because the problem is, with no health insurance, it is difficult to be treated,” she said.
Evans said Adams is the kind of musician who just connects with people and knows what to do.
“He picks it up real good,” Evans said. “He has a knack for it. He will just get it.”
Donations can be made to Jazz Bridge online, but friends of Adams are also putting on benefits in his honor.
On Saturday, a fundraiser will be held at the Candlelight Lounge in Trenton. The fundraiser will feature music from the Victor North Trio. The event starts at 3:30 p.m. and runs until 7:30 p.m. at the lounge at 24 Passaic Street in Trenton.
Next month, there will be another fundraiser in Willingboro organized by Todd Evans, a spoken word poet who has performed on occasion with Adams. The event on Jan. 16, will feature music and poetry and will run from 6 to 9 p.m. at the JFK Recreational Center in Willingboro.
For more information about Jazz Bridge or to donate visit http://www.jazzbridge.org.
Jenna Pizzi may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @JennaPizzi. Find The Times of Trenton on Facebook.