George Bouchard of Westbury, a jazz musician and longtime music professor at Nassau Community College, will be remembered Sept. 12 with a memorial service at Beney Funeral Home in Syosset and honored with a concert at the college in December.

Bouchard, 71, died Aug. 12 after a year with cancer, family members said.

He was an accomplished saxophonist and composer who released four original CDs and wrote a widely used instructional book called "Intermediate Jazz Improvisation."

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He played in jazz clubs throughout the metropolitan area and his most recent group, The George Bouchard Band, played at events on Long Island. He won awards for excellence in music education and for advancing the arts on Long Island.

"He felt fortunate to make a living doing what he loved to do," said his son, Derek Bouchard, 26, of Westbury.

During his more than 30 years as a full-time professor at NCC and his 40 years of teaching during the summers at the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Workshops at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, Bouchard inspired thousands of budding musicians, colleagues and former students said.

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"He has a long legacy of professional players who began studying with him," said Jeffrey Fox, chairman of the NCC music department. "George was very highly respected in the jazz community, not only on Long Island but nationally." A scholarship for an NCC student to study jazz has been created in Bouchard's name, Fox said.

Born Feb. 4, 1944, in Buffalo, he was the eldest of three children. His father worked in a factory and the family lived for much of his childhood in an apartment above the family delicatessen.

When he was 19, on the night after President John F. Kennedy's assassination, he found solace watching a jazz band play at a nightclub near his Buffalo home and decided he wanted a career in music.


He took saxophone lessons from the owner of a music store but was mostly self-taught, drawing inspiration from famous musicians Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, family members said.

He earned a degree in economics from the University at Buffalo and a master's in music from Memphis State University. He served in the Navy from 1966 to '69.

In addition to his son, Bouchard is survived by a brother, David Bouchard of Santa Monica, California; a sister, Terry Hepner of Buffalo; his companion, Trish Gapik of Carlsbad, California; Derek's mother, Marianne Summer Bouchard of Farmingdale; and two nieces.