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James B. Gomes, acclaimed Buffalo jazz drummer
Feb. 3, 1937 -- Jan. 18, 2007

One of the most cherished figures in Buffalo jazz, drummer James "Jimmy" Gomes held down the most visible and longest-running gig in town -- Friday and Saturday nights in the Anchor Bar -- for more than 20 years.

In a 2004 story, Buffalo News reviewer Seamus Gallivan said Gomes, saxophonist Bilal Abdullah, pianist Doug "Trigger" Gaston and upright-bassist Greg Piontek "regularly evoke images of legends such as Coltrane, Tyner, Clarke and Blakey" and, with veteran vocalist DoDo Greene, produced captivating sets that "made plenty a patron's plate go cold."

Mr. Gomes, who accompanied Greene for 13 years before she died last July, began performing in the Anchor Bar in 1982 and formed his group, Jimmy Gomes and the Jazz Example, in 1994.

"We're on the same page musically, professionally and spiritually," he told Gallivan. "Look neat, be on time, no drugs or anything can get in the way -- these issues are the nucleus to longevity."

Mr. Gomes died Thursday in Buffalo General Hospital. He was 69.

"Gomes was a true anchor at the Anchor," Gallivan remarked following his death. "[He] was a man of many colors, all bold -- he was equally compelling when playing with brushes or mallets and always commanding when speaking gently or with force."

Born of Portuguese immigrants in New Bedford, Mass., where he graduated from New Bedford High School, Mr. Gomes served with the Air Force from 1955 to 1963, attaining the rank of airman third class and playing in the Air Force Band.

Returning from service, he settled in New York City and mingled with many of the greats of Manhattan's jazz scene before he moved to Buffalo in 1970.

A City Hall worker for 17 years, he was a contract compliance officer. He retired in 2002.

Surviving are his wife, the former Sharon Gorney; a daughter, Domany Davilmar, who conducts the U.S. Marine Band at Parris Island, S.C.; his mother, Anna B. Monteiro; and a brother, Nathaniel Monteiro.

Services will be at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Amigone Funeral Home, 1132 Delaware Ave.


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