The City of Key West is proud to posthumously honor its native son Theodore "Fats" Navarro, who was born in Key West and, after spending his childhood and adolescent years in the Bahama Village neighborhood, went on to a meteoric career as a jazz trumpeter.
At the September 14th City Commission meeting, District VI Commissioner Clayton Lopez, Mayor Teri Johnston, and the entire Commission proclaimed the day Fats Navarro Day.
Navarro was one of the seminal figures of the bebop style of jazz improvisation and, as such, made an indelible mark on American culture and the style of jazz that ultimately became synonymous with modern jazz. He is remembered as a musical pioneer who revolutionized jazz music and was often referred to as a musical genius by his peers. Many credit Navarro as the harmonic link between Louis Armstrong and the Beboppers in the 1940s.
Navarro won Metronome Magazine's award for best trumpet in 1949. In 1982 he was elected by a panel of international jazz critics into the Down Beat Hall of Fame.
Navarro's discography in bebop lists in the hundreds, including recordings with groups led by Bud Powell, Charlie Parker, Tadd Dameron, Kenny Clarke, Coleman Hawkins, and Dexter Gordon.
Navarro's musical legacy is intertwined with the Bahama Village Music Program. Local musicians will continue a tradition of celebrating this connection when they join together on April 24th at the Green Parrot and perform, raising money for the Bahama Village Music Program.
Navarro reads the proclamation, “is one of our island city's great historical legacies, and forever woven into the cultural fabric of Key West, America, and the world. Fats Navarro’s unparalleled musical creativity and exceptional talent have continued to delight jazz fans and inspire jazz musicians for decades and as one of the fathers of bebop.”
In the photo from L to R: In the photo: Commissioners Lissette Carey and Jimmy Weekley, Mayor Teri Johnston, Gregory James, Vice Mayor Sam Kaufman, and Commissioners Clayton Lopez and Billy Wardlow. Commissioner Mary Lou Hoover was in attendance via Zoom.