Ithaca musical marvel Bernie Upson has died of cancer

July 17, 2014 by Mark H. Anbinder

We are sorry to report that Bernie Upson, a jazz veteran who spent five decades in the music business, has passed away. His family shared the news early this morning.

Bernie was diagnosed not long ago with agressive liver cancer, which metasticized to his bones and spread through his abdomen. The longtime performer was moved to Hospicare just two weeks ago, and a fundraising concert was held at Oasis Dance Club to help with the family's mounting medical expenses.

Those who would like to help with expenses may donate online at the YouCaring web site.

The jazz bassist performed with "such legendary artists as George Benson, Quincy Jones, Joe Henderson, Illinois Jacquet, Buddy Tate, Grover Washington Jr., Roy Haynes, and many others," and "toured Europe, Africa and the Caribbean, and played on such famous American stages as The Apollo, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Kennedy Center," according to his Facebook profile. In recent years, after he settled down in Ithaca, the Bernie Upson Trio was a fixture at Felicia's Atomic Lounge, and performed this spring at the new Argos Inn.

After the benefit event, his wife Deb said last week on Bernie's public Facebook page, "Simply expressing our gratitude is hardly enough, but this is one of those times when words fail to capture our sentiments and the love we feel coming from and that we're sending back to you all. Thank you."

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