Todd Buffa (1952-2012)

January 29, 2012

Todd Buffa and I grew up together in high school as young musicians in Green Bay from 1968-1971. Daily we would get together at his house and play music we knew and loved: the Beatles, the Doors, and Cream’s latest music, as well as Frank Zappa. We played in a few bands together in 1970-71. After high school, I want on to classical music and Todd went on to jazz, especially vocal compositions and arrangements. I have so many great memories growing up with Todd. I will miss him.

The Green Bay Press Gazette, where I worked the switchboard after school in 1969-71, posted Todd’s obituary:

Three-time Grammy Award nominee and jazz singer Todd Buffa of De Pere died unexpectedly Friday at 59 years old.

Buffa was a graduate of Green Bay East High School and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He graduated from the university in the 1970s and moved to Colorado.

Buffa led the vocal group Rare Silk for nine years, receiving a Grammy nomination for best vocal arrangement for Freddie Hubbard’s “Red Clay.” Rare Silk received two nominations for best vocal performance for “New Weave” and “American Eyes.”

“Music is something that awakens us, and it’s something that communicates, whether or not you can understand the words of the language,” Buffa told the Green Bay Press-Gazette in March. “It’s something that — and I don’t mean to be silly when I say this — but it really is universal. It’s everywhere.”

Buffa traveled widely in the 1980s, performing at Carnegie Hall in New York, the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Caeser’s Palace in Atlantic City and the Monterrey Jazz Fest in California, as well as in Europe.

Buffa returned to the Green Bay area in 1999 and taught popular singing at Henri’s Music Studios. Recently, he taught online music lessons via Skype. He released a solo CD, “Curious Orchids,” in 2010.

Funeral services for Buffa are pending, according to Cotter Funeral Home & Cremation Services.

Here is “Lush Life” from a Rare Silk album. This is a Buffa arrangement.

(l-r) Fred Senn, Todd Buffa, John DeVillers, Roger Bourland.

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