The world lost a great one on August 5. George Duke, the legend, passed away at the age of 67. Not many careers as fine as this jazz keyboardist, singer, composer and producer. And collaborator, wow, he played with Zappa on many of his albums and is recognized as a major keyboard pioneer. Truly an amazing player. He played with everybody, Al Jarreau, Miles Davis, Michael Jackson, Phil Collins, and the list goes on. Almost 40 albums on his own, innumerable albums as a sideman, he will be missed. The cut I have posted is unbelievably good. It is a live video of George and his band at the java Jazz Festival.
- Rep: Jazz keyboardist George Duke dies at 67 (news.yahoo.com)
- George Duke, jazz and funk keyboardist, dies aged 67 (telegraph.co.uk)
- George Duke A Jazz Legend Dies at 67 (themuzicnote.com)
British born, but Canadian jazz composer and percussionist Peter Appleyard passed away on July 18, 2013.He was 84. Born in England, he moved to Bermuda in 1949 , eventually landing in Toronto a few years later. In the 1950’s and 60’s , he was a staple on CBC radio, performing live on various shows. In the 1970’s he began touring and playing with the Benny Goodman sextet. As time went on, his reputation grew as a world class vibraphonist. He played with such greats as Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra, while always maintaining his base in Toronto. Among his many awards were a Juno and the Order of Canada. Terrific player. I have posted here a couple of tunes, the first a recent live performance of “It don’t Mean A Thing” and an older clip of “Tangerine”. Both of them have many great artists along with him.
- Canadian jazz master Peter Appleyard dies at age 84 (vancouversun.com)
- Jazz musician Peter Appleyard dies at 84 (cbc.ca)
Tony Sheridan, an early Beatle (Ok the Beat Brothers), he is one of only 2 men (the other being Billy Preston) to be credited on a Beatle song, and the only person to sing lead on a Beatle single, passed away on February 16, 2013. All the stories have been told, so no point in rehashing them. Suffice to say that the Beatles first album was released as “My Bonnie” by Tony Sheridan and the Beatles. The band’s name was changed to Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers as the word Beatles sounded too much like the German word for penis. I wonder how they dealt with that as the Beatles became more and more famous.
He was an original rock & roll artist, but migrated to more of a jazz player as his career continued. He continued recording right up to 2008. Here is a sampling of his work.
Shake It Some More, recorded in 1966.
With The Beatles
Some more recent material
Reg Presley passed away on February 4, 2013. Reg was an English singer and songwriter, best known as the lead singer for 19560’s band The Troggs. They has several hits back in the day, but the one he will be most remembered for will be “Wild Thing“. The band also had a major hit with “With A Girl Like You”. Both are linked below. He was also an author, writing “Wild Things They Don’t Tell Us”, a book about lost civilizations etc. Another piece of my youth has left us.
And a bonus, the answer to who originally did Wet Wet Wet’s 1994 hit “Love Is All Around”.
March 6th was a tough day. The world also lost Alvin Lee, guitarist, leader and singer of Ten Years After. This band is one of those bands that etched a big place in the soundtrack of my life, this song in particular. “I’d Love To Change The World“. It has a short interview at the beginning and gets cut off at the end, Oh well.
The band hit its stride at Woodstock, and contributed to the idealism of the 60’s and early 70’s. Terrific player, great band, he will be missed, Alvin Lee, dead at 69.
- Tributes To ‘Ten Years After’s’ Alvin Lee Led By Queen Guitarist Brian May (contactmusic.com)
- RIP Ten Years After guitarist Alvin Lee (brooklynvegan.com)
- Ten Years After singer Alvin Lee has died at 68 (todayentertainment.today.com)
On our recent trip to Spain, we were sitting in a small tapas bar in the Born area of Barcelona. We were enjoying some great food, and some excellent wine, when a song came on that made us both go, “Who in the heck is that”. We asked our server who it was and he went to find out for us. Turns out that it was Donald Byrd, who, unfortunately, passed away on February 4, 2013 at he age of 80. Having just discovered him (where was he hiding), I was quite saddened by this news, A great trumpet player, his career spanned 7 decades and included, besides his solo work, stints and recordings with a who’s who of the jazz and blues world. John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Sonny Rollins and Herbie Hancock may ring a few bells with you.
He recorded over 40 albums on his own and many more as a sideman. An outstanding career. The song I have chosen in memorial, is the one we heard in Barcelona, “Falling (like dominoes)” of his Places and Spaces album, which was recorded in 1975.