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Thursday 21 August 2014

Jazz fans want graves near greats

Published 10/07/2014 | 09:03

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The gravestone of jazz great Miles Davis sits in Jazz Corner at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx section of New York (AP)

So many jazz enthusiasts want to be buried near the graves of such greats as Miles Davis and Duke Ellington that a New York cemetery is developing new plots to meet the demand.

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The Woodlawn Cemetery is building about 2,275 new burial plots between the grave of Latin music star Celia Cruz and "Jazz Corner", the area where musicians Davis, Ellington, Lionel Hampton and Illinois Jacquet are buried.

"With the history of the Bronx and everybody that is planning ahead, we have a lot of requests to be close to Miles Davis and Celia Cruz," said cemetery executive director David Ison.

Pauline Smith, 74, bought a burial plot near Jazz Corner about three years ago. She is an avid jazz lover and throws regular parties where she hires jazz musicians to play at her home.

"The music is in the earth and in the air and in the heavens," she said. "I love the idea that I could be continuing my love on the other side."

Earlier this year, the cemetery opened up 70 burial plots behind Davis's grave in Jazz Corner, separate from the new development, and almost all of them have already been sold.

The complex also includes a mausoleum finished in February with space for about 275 sets of remains and a starting price of 6,000 dollars (£3,500) per plot.

The cemetery, about half the size of Central Park, is also the final resting place of such notables as journalist Joseph Pulitzer, women's rights pioneer Elizabeth Cady Stanton and composer Irving Berlin.

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