Dec 30, 2009
All the merriment of the holiday season takes a breather here as we remember those wonderful musicians and jazz figures we lost this year, including:
Composer George Russell, Les Paul, the father of the electric guitar; noted singers Blossom Dearie (click here to listen to "Everything I've Got", a track from her eponymous debut album from 1957), Kenny Rankin and Chris Connor; Art D'Lugoff, owner of NYC's Village Gate club; Roy DeCarava, a photographer whose black and white images captured Harlem's everyday life and the jazz greats who performed there, and Edward “Eddie” Locke, a jazz drummer whose 60-year career included long associations with trumpeter Roy Eldridge and tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins.
Also, Rashied Ali (pictured above), a free-jazz drummer who backed John Coltrane and accompanied him in a duet album in the final months of the jazz master’s life; Charlie Mariano, who worked with jazz greats such as Stan Kenton, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie; veteran jazz bassist, award winning television comedy writer, producer and author, Gordon “Whitey” Mitchell, jazz and R&B saxophone legends David “Fathead” Newman and Hank Crawford, and Pia Beck, Dutch jazz pianist and singer.
Also, smooth jazz bassist and basketball star Wayman Tisdlae, Johnny Almond of the jazz/rock group Mark-Almond, bassist Jeff Clyne, pianist and arranger Dick Katz, musicians Sirone, Sonny Bradshaw, Leonard Gaskin, and Fats Sadi.
Also, guitarists Coleman Mellett (from Chuck Mangione’s band), Vic Lewis, and Lawrence Lucie; trumpeters Eddie Preston and Zeke Zarchy; producer, muscian, and singer Raymond Berthiaume, singers Kitty White and Tina Marsh, pianist Eddie Higins, saxophonist Jack Minitz, and musician, composer and investor Joe Maneri
Non-jazz figures we lost in 2009 that made an impact on me at one time or another included Walter Cronkite, Edward Kennedy, Michael Jackson, Beatrice Arthur, and especially, writer John Updike.