Jack End was a rare man who had the patience and curiosity to follow his talents to the directions in which they led him. He was a total clarinet player, a champion sailer in the snipe class, a casual marksman, and a gifted music arranger. I met him when he was still in high school. Highly recommended by Eastman's clarinet teacher, Rufus Arey, he helped me fill out the section of the Eastman School Symphony Band of which he would become concert master when a regular student.
Jack was at ease in all music but his special commitment was to jazz at which he became a walking and blowing encyclopedia. This had begun when he was very young and when he also began to collect the 10''/discs, 78rpm, which became both his passion and his textbooks for the course in jazz studies which he tried to inaugurate at the Eastman School years in advance of any school anywhere ; he also organized and led its first jazz band. When these two inroads probed no deeper than the outer rim of a very conservative institution his patience yielded to administrative resistance against jazz as a curricular development and he abandoned after what had been a very good fight. Some years later another Rochester jazz musician become Eastman student would pick-up on Jack's beginnings when Chuck Mangione sealed the positive presence of the subject in the Eastman curriculum.
By this time Jack had put the clarinet and tenor sax up on a very high shelf and had become a media person and a successful television producer at the console where his gifts at time, texture, technique, and counterpoint made that complex work as simple as a Dixieland chorus.
He had always been a club-date player frequently returning to School at two o'clock in the morning to leave his instruments in his studio. It was on one of those early wintry mornings when Jack observed a cat that had lain dead for a few days to be still in the dimly lit gutter in front of Sibley Music Library.
Two-in-the -morning could be a pretty dead time on Swan Street those many years ago. The cat was pretty dead, too. When he dropped the instruments in his studio he sat at the piano to express his sadness. What else -but a blues. His band played it for years and so did those of us who gathered for a class reunion in 1960 when I asked him to score it for The Eastman Wind Ensemble. The Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra recorded it twenty-five years later in 1986 when Jack End died in his 67th year.