The area’s hottest rock and blues bands turned out in Coconut Grove last Friday night to pay tribute to legendary local bluesman Don Feldstein, a beloved local favorite who died last April.
The tribute, which was held at the Taurus bar, featured “The Click,” “Big City Band,” “Three Sheets,” and “FRK,” played from 9 p.m. to past midnight. Also performing was popular jazz vocalist Paulette Dozier, a longtime friend of Feldstein’s, who led the musicians in a rocking rendition of “Mustang Sally,” one of Feldstein’s favorites.
The Taurus was one of Feldstein’s favorite places, and his many family members, along with numerous friends and fans packed the place, spilling out onto the porch and into the courtyard, and sharing reminisces about him as the bands played.
“We would play here at the Taurus many years ago, and Don would come up and sit in. The audience had no idea what to expect, and when he opened his mouth, and gave it his all, as he always did, he left everyone in awe of his talent,” said musician Larry Misrahi, of the Click, who, along with Feldstein’s daughter, Tara Feldstein Havener, organized the event.
Feldstein also had an excellent voice, and he also played a mean harmonica, or harp, Misrahi recalled. “I remember when he took up the harp. You could see him practicing, week after week, month after month, and he became so proficient at it that he was amazing,” Misrahi said.
Also known as “Grinder Don,” Feldstein was a familiar figure in Coconut Grove, as he zipped around in his wheelchair. Left paralyzed at the age of five from polio, he never let his condition define him. He married, became a father and a grandfather, and he spent his career as a rehabilitation counselor at Jackson Memorial Hospital, serving as both counselor and inspiration, convincing other paralyzed people that they too could lead fulfilling lives.
After retiring in 2005, he was even busier than ever, attending lectures, frequenting jazz spots, going to music and arts festivals, and engaging in his favorite hobbies such as photography, at which he was excellent, until last fall, when he suffered devastating complications following a routine medical procedure. Despite the many long months of hospitalization that followed, he remained unflaggingly upbeat, turning the tables on those who came to visit him by conspiring to cheer them up.
Feldstein’s impact on everyone around him could be seen in the numbers of people who flocked to last Friday night’s event said Misrahi, who said, “I was very pleased with the turnout on relatively short notice. This just demonstrates how much love and admiration there was for Don.”
More info: The Click