Dec 29, 2014
2014 was a very difficult year for the jazz community, as a number of its leading lights passed on to what a friend of mine would call the “Celestial Band”. In the ten plus years I have been blogging, I do not recall a year when we lost the likes of Charlie Haden (bass), Horace Silver (piano), Jim Hall (guitar), Yusef Lateef (flute) and Chico Hamilton (drums). Come to think of it, what a band THAT would have been here on Planet Earth!
Other jazz musicians of note who passed away in 2014 include Jazz Crusaders Joe Sample (pictured) and Wayne Henderson; Jack Bruce, the founder of Cream and fusion pioneer; Tim Houser, one of the founders and vocalists of the Manhattan Transfer; composer/bandleader Gerald Wilson; trumpeter Kenny Wheeler; pianist Kenny Drew, Jr.; and drummer Idris Muhammad.
Also, Acker Bilk ("Stranger on the Shore"); Klaus Kreuzeder; Carlos Emilio Morales; Buddy Catlett; Brian Lemon; Vic Ash; Lionel Ferbos; Herb Jeffries; Harold Buice; Kerrie Biddell; Kathy Stobart; and Aaron Sachs.
Also Ronald Shannon Jackson; Joe Wilder; King Fleming; Armando Peraza; Al Harewood; Dick Berk; Roy Campbell, Jr.; Bud Spangler; Joe Evans; and Arthur Doyle.
Among the many who passed away in 2014 who had made an impression on me and my life from outside of the jazz community were directors Mike Nichols and Harold Ramis; actors Philip Seymour Hoffman, Lauren Bacall, and Robin Williams; baseball payers turned announcers Ralph Kiner and Jerry Coleman; writer Gabriel García Márquez; singer/songwriter/activist Pete Seeger; boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter; comedians Joan Rivers and Sid Caesar; and football coach Chuck Knoll.
Two voices that permeated my adolescence are also gone: radio personality Casey Kasem, who introduced my brother and me to the American Top 40; and “Saturday Night Live” announcer Don Pardo. Three familiar faces from the television on my youth also passed on - Ann B. Davis (“The Brady Bunch”); Dave Madden (“The Partridge Family”) and Russell Johnson (“Gilligan’s Island”).
Lastly, a final so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen,goodbye to Maria Von Trapp, whose life story was the basis for one of my favorite films, The Sound of Music.