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Archive for December, 2010

RIP, Rudy Guess (December 31, 2010) Guitarist For Carole King

Posted by on December 31, 2010

Michael “Rudy” Guess
February 27, 1953 – December 31, 2010

Rudy Guess was a talented guitarist, producer, and composer who is perhaps best known as the longtime touring guitarist for Carole King. He also helped produce many of King’s studio recordings.  As a composer, Guess’ music has been featured on such television shows as Extreme Makeover, Law & Order, and The Practice.  Rudy Guess was 57 when he passed away on December 31, 2010.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

Thanks To Marc Luzzatto for the help

Posted in Musician, Producer, Singer | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

RIP, Bobby Farrell (December 30, 2010) Boney M

Posted by on December 30, 2010

Bobby Farrell
October 6, 1949 – December 30, 2010

Bobby Farrell was the Aruban frontman for German Euro-disco group, Boney M.  Formed in 1975 by music producer, Frank Farian, Boney M became a dance music phenomenon across Europe throughout the late ’70s and early ’80s, but failed to find much of an audience in the United States.  During their run, they released eight studio albums and numerous hit singles which included, “Rasputin,” “Ma Baker,” and “Rivers Of Babylon.”  It was later revealed that Farrell rarely, if at all, sang on the group’s studio records, but in fact did so during their live performances.  On December 30, 2010, Bobby Farrell, age 61, was found dead in his hotel room while on tour in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Cause of death was not immediately released, although he had apparently complained of breathing problems during the previous evening’s performance.

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RIP, Billy Taylor (December 28, 2010) Respected Jazz Pianist

Posted by on December 28, 2010

Billy Taylor
July 24, 1921 – December 28, 2010

Billy Taylor was a highly respected jazz pianist, composer, and educator whose career spanned the better part of seven decades.  A disciple of Art Tatum, Taylor began playing professionally in 1944, first as part of Ben Webster’s group, and eventually as the house pianist of the Birdland club.  During those early years, he collaborated with the likes of Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie.   As one of jazz’s greatest ambassadors, Taylor devoted much of his time to ensure that the music be shared with new generations of fans through his teachings as well as on television and radio.  Many Americans may remember him from his 250+ interviews he conducted for CBS News Sunday Morning.  He has been awarded a Grammy, an Emmy, a Peabody, an NEA Jazz Masters Award and the National Medal of Arts, to name just a few.  Billy Taylor was 89 when he died of heart failure on December 28, 2010.

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RIP, Bill Maddox (December 27, 2010) Rock Drummer; Played With Eric Johnson

Posted by on December 27, 2010

Bill Maddox
DOB Unknown – December 27, 2010

Bill Maddox was a respected Austin, Texas drummer who is perhaps best remembered for his association with guitar great, Eric Johnson.  Maddox and Johnson first began playing together during the mid ’70s in the acclaimed jazz rock fusion band, Electromagnets.  Since then, Maddox has performed with the Eric Johnson Band, Omar & the Howlers, and Alien Love Child.   In the morning hours of December 27, 2010, Bill Maddox was allegedly shot and killed during a struggle with a burglar in his own home.  The alleged intruder was injured as well and taken to a local hospital by the authorities.  Maddox was 54.

Thanks to Don Smith for the help

Posted in Musician, Rock | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

RIP, Harry Andronis (December 27, 2010) Sound Tech For Frank Zappa

Posted by on December 27, 2010

Harry Andronis
February 4, 1953 – December 27, 2010

Harry Andronis is perhaps best remembered as the long time front-of-house sound mixer for Frank Zappa.  He joined up with Zappa in 1988, coming on board for the Broadway The Hard Way Tour.  Prior to his job with Zappa, Andronis worked with the likes of Shadowfax, Chris DeBurgh, Supertramp, and Jean-Luc Ponty. He also created jingles for such companies as Schlitz, United Airlines, and McDonalds, and did sound effects for such television shows as L.A. Law and Doogie Howser.  In his later years with Zappa, Andronis helped him remix tapes from many of his old shows.   On December 27, 2010, Harry Andronis passed away following a long struggle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  He was 54.

Thanks to Roger Palmeri for the help

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RIP, Rory J. Thomas (December 27, 2010) Respected Australian Jazz Musician

Posted by on December 27, 2010

Rory J. Thomas
November 13, 1942 – December 27, 2010

Photo By Gene Ramirez

Rory J. Thomas was, among many other things, a gifted Australian jazz musician, conductor, and film documenatarian.  Thomas was just five years old when he first took up the piano, and by the time he was a young adult, he had played in such popular local bands as the Questions and Doug Parkinson in Focus.   After graduating college in Sydney, Thomas received a scholarship to the world renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.  While there, he found work as a late night disc jockey and field reporter for a local radio station.  One of his assignments was to cover the historic Woodstock music festival in 1969.  That was followed by music festivals across Europe during breaks from his studies.   He was also involved in the musical arrangements for the original Broadway production of Godspell and was later invited to be the musical director of the Australian production of the show.  During the ’80s, Thomas launched a long and respected career as a music educator in Australia, the U.S., and France.  During the final years of his life, Thomas was still teaching at times over 12 hours a day, all while undergoing chemotherapy.  He was awarded many honors over his long career, including being knighted by the French government in 2009, the first time that honor has ever been handed to an Australian jazz musician.  Rory J. Thomas, 68, died on December 27, 2010 following a 7-year battle with cancer.

Thanks to Anne Bentley for the help

Posted in Arranger, Jazz, Musician | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Died On This Date (December 27, 2004) Hank Garland / Nashville Studio Legend

Posted by on December 27, 2010

Walter “Hank” Garland
November 11, 1930 – December 27, 2004

Hank Garland was respected session guitarist who was part of country music’s legendary Nashville A-Team who played on most of the greatest records during the ’50s and ’60s.  Garland picked up the guitar at the age of six, and by the time he was 12 he was playing on local radio stations, and within two years of that, he moved to Nashville to further his career.  Like his friend Chet Atkins, Garland stood out above the rest for the fact that he was so skilled at marrying country with jazz in his playing.  When he was 19, Garland released his biggest hit, “Sugarfoot Rag,” which went on to sell over a million copies.  Between 1957 and 1961, Garland recorded and performed live with Elvis Presley, adding his signature sound to such records as “Big Hunk O’ Love” and “Little Sister.”  Over the years he also played with Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, Conway Twitty, Bob Dylan, and Marty Robbins, to name a few.  He also collaborated with such jazz icons as Charlie Parker and George Shearing.  Garland did his part to improve race relations at the time by hiring African American jazz musicians to perform with him to the dismay to some in Nashville.  In 1961, Garland was seriously hurt in a car accident that some have speculated was purposely caused by a rival.  Either way, Garland ended up in a coma for several days and incurred injuries that left him unable to record again. Hank Garland was 74 when he passed away on December 27, 2004.

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RIP, Teena Marie (December 26, 2010) Had Several R&B Hits

Posted by on December 26, 2010

Teena Marie
March 5, 1956 – December 26, 2010

Teena Marie was a singer, songwriter, and producer who had a string of R&B hits throughout the ’80s and ’90s.  By all accounts, she was one of the most successful white female R&B performers in history.  Born and raised in Los Angeles, Marie landed a job at Motown Records in the late ’70s.  It was there that she met Rick James who took her under his wing and helped her sculpt an image and sound that would take her to the top of the R&B and pop charts.  Her hits included “I’m a Sucker For Your Love,” I Need Your Lovin’,” and of course, 1984’s “Lovergirl,” which hit #4 on the US singles charts.   Marie was still making great music through 2009 and was headlining in Las Vegas up until the time of her passing.  Teena Marie was 54 when she died on December 26, 2010.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

Thanks to Jill Wheeler for the help

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Posted in Musician, R&B, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

RIP, Bernie Wilson (December 26, 2010) Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes

Posted by on December 26, 2010

Bernie Wilson
DOB Unknown – December 26, 2010

Bernie Wilson was a member of the great R&B singing group, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes for many years, including those that gave us such soul staples as “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Bad Luck,” and “The Love I Lost.”  It was the Blue Notes that helped define a popular style of R&B known as The Sound Of Philadelphia or Philly Soul, which soon begat disco and later, smooth jazz and quiet storm.  Other notables of the genre are/were The O’Jays, The Spinners, and McFadden & Whitehead.  After signing their first record deal in 1972, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes enjoyed several years of hits, television appearances, and sold-out concerts thanks in part to the instantly recognizable hefty lead vocals of Teddy Pendergrass.  But when Pendergrass left for a solo career in 1976, the group’s reign at the top of the heap came to an end.  They DID enjoy a handful of hits throughout the rest of the ’70s and continued performing in one form or another through the ’90s – the later years were without Melvin, who passed away in 1997.  It was Wilson who was a constant throughout the group’s various incarnations.  Bernie Wilson was 64 when he died of undisclosed illness on December 26, 2010.

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RIP, Dorothy Jones (December 25, 2010) The Cookies

Posted by on December 25, 2010

Dorothy Jones
May 16, 1934 – December 25, 2010

Dorothy Jones was a founding member of R&B girl group, the Cookies.  Formed in 1953, the Cookies had hits with “In Paradise,” “Don’t Say Nothin’ Bad (About My Baby),” “Girls Grow Up Faster Than Boys,” and of course, “Chains.”   The Beatles also had a hit with “Chains” a few years later.  The Cookies can also be heard singing back up on Neil Sedaka’s “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” and Little Eva’s “The Loco-Motion.”  The group split up in 1967.  Dorothy Jones was 76 when she died of Alzheimer’s Disease on December 25, 2010.

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