Dec 28, 2017
2017 has again been a cruel year for musical passings. The jazz world lost more than its share of legendary artists, including singers Jon Hendricks, Keely Smith and Al Jarreau; pianist Muhal Richard Abrams; drummers Sonny Murray and Ben Riley (Thelonious Monk); pianist Geri Allen; producer-arranger David Axelrod; flautist Dave Valentin; drummer Mickey Roker (MJQ); saxophonist Arthur Blythe and pioneering electric guitarist Larry Coryell.
Others noted in passing include trombonist Roswell Rudd; producer George Avakian; singer-pianist Barbara Carroll; guitarist Chuck Loeb; singer Della Reese; bandleader Larry Elgart; Brazilian percussionist Laudir de Oliveira (Sergio Mendes, Marcus Valle); drummer-singer Grady Tate; DJ Helen Borgers; trombonist Wendell Eugene; trumpeter Rod Mason; photographers Terry Cryer and Chuck Stewart; percussionist Charles “Bobo” Shaw (Black Artists’ Group); and South African singer Thandi Klaasen.
Also, producer Tommy LiPuma; writer Nat Hentoff; pianists Fumio Karashima, Avo Uvezian, Egil Kapstad, and Graham Wood; producer Eric Miller; bassists Don Payne, John Shifflett, and Sal Cuevas (Fania All-Stars); and singers Aloysius Gordon, Chris Murrell (Count Basie), Ray Phiri, and Frank Holder.
Also, guitarist Bern Nix (Ornette Coleman); drummer Bill Dowdy (Three Sounds); trumpeter Phil Cohran (Sun Ra, AACM); saxophonist-educator Andy McGhee (Lionel Hampton); saxophonists Stan Robinson, Dave Pell, Lou Gare, and Atle Hammer; drummer Kim Plainfield; avant-garde pianist and composer Tom McClung; guitarist Errol Dyers and pianist Theo Bophela.
Among those non-musical individuals who left this mortal coil and had an effect on my life during their time here were: poets Derek Walcott and John Ashberry; playwright Sam Shepard; journalists Jimmy Breslin and Lillian Ross; authors Michael Bond (“Paddington Bear”) and Robert Pirsig (“Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”); actors Adam West (“Batman”), Mary Tyler Moore, Robert Guillaume, Nelson Ellis (“True Blood”),Bill Paxton, Joseph Bologna, Miguel Ferrer, John Heard, Roger Moore, Dick Gautier (“Get Smart”), John Hurt, and Harry Dean Stanton; musicians Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Tom Petty, J. Geils, Walter Becker (Steely Dan), David Cassidy, Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), Malcolm Young (AC/DC), Glen Campbell, Barbara Cook, Gregg Allman and Butch Trucks (Allman Brothers Band) and Clyde Stubblefield (drummer for James Brown); film director Jonathan Demme; baseball players Don Baylor and Roy Halliday; comedians Jerry Lewis, Dick Gregory and Don Rickles; game show host Monty Hall; magazine publisher High Hefner; and essayist John Berger (“Ways of Seeing”).
All will be missed.