Augusta Music Family Tree

Tommie W. Gulley, Jr. 1930 - 2010[]

“RIP Tommie Gulley", by Ed Fuqua

Unless you lived or played jazz in Augusta GA, you probably don’t know Tommie. He was a bassist, but primarily he was a relentlessly indefatigable jazz enthusiast. ANY time ANYbody played a jazz gig in Augusta GA, Tommie was there. Tommie supported and encouraged jazz in any and every capacity, from listener to participant; on the stand or in the house. From gigs to just getting together and listening to records. He organized the first support organization for the music in Augusta JAZZ UNLIMITED, he started the first publication featuring performance reviews, concert and club listings, interviews with local and visiting artists for the Augusta area 2 years before New York City had a similar magazine (JU Magazine debuted in 1979, Hot House NYC in 1981). He was instrumental in JU initiating the first annual Augusta Jazz Festival which, while primarily presenting local musicians, was able to bring David “Fathead” Newman’s quartet to Augusta (for one of the last festivals). Though the Festival didn’t survive the break up of the organization, Tommie helped, directly or indirectly, bring artists like Nancy Wilson, Clifford Jordan, Bill Barron, Nat Adderly, Walter Booker, Ronnie Matthews, Jimmy Cobb and Sarah Vaughn to Augusta. Even as recently as 2007 Tommie was on the advisory board for Augusta State University’s CULLUMJazz program.

I’m proud to have known him, he’ll always be the exemplar of selfless enthusiasm in pursuit of the art that you love for me.

I wish you all could have known him.”