Maurie Fabrikant: a life well lived

Maurie at the 2009 Convention, Melbourne (Photo: Ron Jobe)

MAURIE Fabrikant, beloved President of the Victorian Jazz Club and friend of a host of musicians and jazz fans across Australia, died at home in his chair at 10 o’clock this morning, 16 May 2012.

The hundreds of friends who were lucky enough to see and honour Maurie last Sunday at the VJC fundraiser at Clayton RSL will value their last meeting with their generous and courageous mate.

All sympathies and support to Doreen and children, brother Harold, and the wider Fabrikant clan.

27 responses to “Maurie Fabrikant: a life well lived

  1. Jim Desharnais

    I first met Maurie as a newly arrived Yank tech teacher when I was dragged along by Burgher to the famous Sunday night BBQ’s. I was promptly dubbed ‘Mississippi Wipeout’ by Maurie after an excess of vodka and orange drinks led to some rather strange behaviour,(so I am told).”But I’m from Massachusetts, Maurie.”
    “Doesn’t matter, mate. Mississippi sounds better!”
    Those were great times and Maurie and Doreen became my Australian family. We will miss him.

  2. Maurie Fabrikant – an absolute legend whom none of us who attended his lectures at Monash throughout the 90s will ever forget. A wit and dry sense of humour, gained no doubt through rich life experiences, he applied to all his topics and made learning an enjoyable experience that so many of us will remember and cherish and indeed laugh about forever – enjoy that never ending bottle of red in the sky!

    • Michael Payoe

      Darren & I were privileged to have had Maurie as our lecturer for are very first lecture at the former CIT. We still talk about his introduction to us of himself and his working arrangements on Fridays (no work to be discussed after lunch on a Friday, but, he would be happy to have a beer with anyone). We had some great times with Maurie after lectures on week nights and on Friday afternoons. Vale Mr Fabrikant. Thank you for being a great source of inspiration and damn good bloke.

  3. I have been on/off the melbourne trad jazz scene since the late fourties
    during such a long time period Ihave seen many a gifted musio pass from us
    the news of Maurie’s passing has really shaken me even knowing his decline in health.
    Does any one recall Willie’The Lion’Mc Intyre He and Maurie had a lot in common right down to the way they tackled the piano.

  4. Gwyneth Moore

    A truly inspirational man who touched the lives of many. He was my long-suffering lecturer at Chisholm in the eighties and kept us well entertained with his dry and witty remarks accompanying his excellent teaching. I was lucky to become a friend of Maurie and Doreen and although, now living in Amsterdam, managed to see him again in September. It will be a strange world without him. I send my sincere thoughts to Doreen and the family.
    Gwyneth Moore (Moore as Maurie always called me).

  5. And yes, Maurie is well known on this side of the Tasman too, by Convention attendees over so many years Who can forget that gravel voice, wonderful entertainer. with the solid left hand. And were you at the Bond Convention 1994, and the ‘alternative picnic day’ was on the beach, organised by Maurie and friends pounding it out close to sand and water, with red wine dispensary right there too. What a day.
    So thank you Maurie, and all you Oz musicians who made my Convention trips 1986-2000 so memorable. – Noel B.

  6. Only a few moments ago I heard of my cousin Maurie’s passing. What a loss – a great musician, a man with a huge heart, and one helluva character! My thoughts have flown back to our childhood years, when I stood, totally awed, listening to him and Harold play the piano in the home where they lived with their mother, Sura. Sadly, paths diverged and we saw little of each other over the decades since those times … memories, however, never leave us, and I will hold them dear.

  7. Shortly after arriving in Australia as a fresh faced young Pom, I was introduced to Maurie and Doreen through Burgher. I am back in “Pom’s Place” and haven’t seen Moysh for about 36 years though Doreen has been quite a regular visitor. To me, Maurie was – and still is – Australia. Such was his influence and effect on me that after all this time I still remember him vividly and consider him just about the best friend a man could have. The BBQs, the back garden jazz toots, the lemon tree, the card nights, the trips to Mildura etc etc. Though he no doubt didn’t realise it, Maurie taught me how to be a “Fair dinkum Aussie (which I remain to this day still carrying my “Australasian Order of Old bastards” card with me at all times) No matter what Maurie was doing, when you came into his home he always gave you his total and undivided attention. Rest in peace Maurie, I will always love you and your family.

  8. Doreen called me tonight (20/5/2012) about Mauries passing. I am so sad for Maurie & his wife & children, grandchildren, friends, inter alia. Maurie used to be my university lecturer at CIT (Caulfield institute of Technology). Past few years I have got to know him as a good friend. When I was 13 years old, my private lesson trumpet teacher was Frank Traynor (older that Maurie). Now deceased. Maurie took the effort to get me a recording of Frank Traynors Jazz Preachers CD from long ago. Thank you Maurie for your friendship & for being “frank” (no pun intended). God bless you & family, inter alia.

  9. A truly great man has left us all. Maurie was one the constant and most repsected figures I have had my entire life. The BBQ’s, music and huge intellect both taught and inspired me. I will miss you always mate.
    Andrew McKenzie.

  10. I first met Maurie when he was playing Wednesday nights at La Grotta in Briar Hill. Over the weeks and a few Reds, I got to know (a little), a great jazz player and a great human being. He may have moved on, but he will not be forgotten. I still have the ‘Wednesday Jazz’ shirt that Doreen gave me. Love to you, Doreen, and the family.

  11. I first met Maurie when I lived in Melbourne and he played in a band in a pizzaria in Briar Hill on a Wednesday night> I had bought a glass of house wine before making myself known to the band (hoping for a sit-in,) Maurie, sitting at a table, said ” Is that the crap they serve here? Don’t drink that s**t! Try this.” With that he dumped the contents of my glass into a pot containing a palm, reached under the table and took out an unlabeled bottle of red and proceeded to fill my glass. A great introduction. I returned to NZ in 2006, so it was great to catch up with him at the Bay of Islands jazz festival last August.
    A mighty oak has fallen.

  12. How the hell did this happen – probably maurie’s last thought. The howlings of the ghosts around me will now swing to a new rhythm. Life is immeasurably a richer thing for having him around us. Doreen, the house might be more quiet but the echoes will last, and last, and last.

  13. Stewart McKenzie

    A true friend for over sixty years has gone. A wise counsellor, dedicated jazzman,bon vivant, to name but a few of his attributes. We are left with wonderful memories.
    Wherever you may be Old Mate, may the jazz be hot and the beer be cold, and may the wine be red and the steaks be blue.
    Stewart, Cheryl, Andrew, Deb and Catherine McKenzie

  14. My Auntie and then my parents were neighbours of Maurie and Doreen in Noble Park for many years. They were the best neighbours imaginable and I still remember the many barbeques and jam sessions that they had over the years. Maurie had a huge music collection but it was all trad jazz and he insisted on playing it through a valve amp and a single speaker. I remember when I started learning classical violin at the age of 27 he dismissed most of it as “Boche Music”. He was a great personality and a great intellect and an incredibly funny man. My parents were working class emigrants from Scotland and he was a University educated professional but he just treated everyone the same. I saw Maurie at my Mum’s funeral a couple of years ago and he looked fine so I was really shocked to hear about his death from this horrible disease.

  15. I was all intent on coming along on Sunday, to sit in on clarinet and/or sax, being a newbie in Melbourne. But my health (or rather, lack thereof on this occasion) got the better of me that day. Now I’m doubly gutted that I couldn’t be there, as it sounds like Maurie was such a good guy… I really hope he received and got to hear my Soundcloud links (see website listed here) that on request I sent a friend to forward on to him, as apparently he was rather looking forward to meeting me and hearing me play, bless him. Much love and condolences to all his friends and family.

  16. I too was very saddened to learn of mozzas passing he was such a much loved man and a wonderful musician I will miss him dearly he always asked me to have a warble particularly at Halls Gap festivals he will be very missed love to Doreen and Family
    Jan Howden (La saluta days)

  17. Bruny Island Band

    Met up with him every year at the Australian Jazz Convention – how we’ll miss him, a lovely bloke. Life won’t be the same without him.
    Lili and Allan

  18. Michael Tovey

    In an e-mail a month ago, Maurie told me he and Doreen might soon be moving from Noble Park. I replied that I’d see him when I was back home in Melbourne in June. Time moved too fast, and now that reunion will never take place. My heart goes out to Doreen, to their children and grandchildren and to Harold. I’ve lost one of my dearest friends, the kindest, most generous man I ever met. We’ll never see his like again.

  19. I first met Maurie when I was 14 years old at the Merimbula jazz festival (1990) playing with Mark Elton. We then played together many times, mostly at the Grampians & Merimbula festivals but also with various ensembles at jazz clubs and random gigs. Maurie would have a bottle of red wine placed precariously on the keyboard while his mighty left hand would spell it out for the rhythm section. He helped me fall in love with the music.

    Maurie was a great friend, a great musician and a great supporter of the music we love. I’ll miss you old sport.


  20. Thomas Leffers

    I will miss his presence at the Merimbula Jazz Festival next month, as I am sure will many others. Vale.

  21. Maurie Fabrikant did an amazing amount for the Victorian Jazz Club in the 5 years that he was President. . He will be a very hard act to follow.
    from his favourite Secretary

  22. There I was stuck for transport to Barham due to a wagon with a sick diff. Maurie dialled around to find me a lift.
    ‘Sorry me olde [mate], no luck, but problem solved take my car’
    I’II never forget that…

  23. Although we all knew it was only a matter of time, it doesn’t make hearing the news any easier. I can think of no more beloved figure in Australian Jazz.
    He’ll be greatly missed.

  24. I’ve known Maurie for well over 50 years, starting in Melbourne with a shared interest in jazz and old cars (and just possibly wine). Throughout that time he was the most supportive, enthusiastic and generous bloke you could hope to find anywhere. Though our meetings in recent years were less frequent, nothing changed, even when he was in that frighteningly rapid decline. I’m honored to have been one of his mates. My thoughts are now with Doreen and the family. Rest in peace, old pal.

  25. I am shattered by this sad news. I had the pleasure of playing with Maurie many times and he even played at my house warming many years ago in Sydney. A great man who always had a smile on his face and was always genuinely pleased to see you. Very sad. Very sad.

  26. Thanks for letting me know.
    Maurie is a lovely man and such a loss to the world, not to mention the world of jazz.
    So sad…

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