'What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others'. Pericles (495 - 429 b.c.)
larry johnson (the artistics)
b. Lawrence Johnson, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. June 2015, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Lawrence ‘Larry’ Johnson, the first tenor for the group the Artistics, has died.
Details are scarce regarding causes and timings, however, Larry’s homegoing service will be held on Saturday the 27th of June, at the Gatling Chapel, 10133 S. Halsted St. Chicago, IL. 60628.
The funeral service will take place between 11:00 a.m. until Mid-day.
The Artistics were attendee’s of the Marshall High School in Chicago.
The group featured Curt Thomas (lead), Jesse Bolian (second tenor), Aaron Floyd (baritone bass) and Larry (first tenor).
The Artistics sang backgrounds for for Major Lance (‘Monkey Time’).
They signed to the OKeh Records imprint in 1963, the line-up, later, to feature Charles Davis and Marvin Smith.
At OKeh their first record for the label was ‘I’m Gonna Miss You’, which reached number 9 on the R&B chart and no. 55 on the pop chart in 1966.
The song was co-penned by Larry, along with Marvin Smith and Jesse Bolian from the group.
Albums followed, including ‘I’m Gonna Miss You’ (in 1967), ‘The Articulate Artistics’ (in 1968) and ‘What Happened’ (in 1969).
b. Harold Raymond Battiste, Jr., 28th October 1931, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 19th June 2015, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
Harold Raymond Battiste, Jr., the composer, arranger and performer, has died. Harold was 83.
He had undergone a period of declining health.
Harold will, probably, be best remembered for his arrangements on the late Sam Cooke’s evergreen ‘You Send Me’ in 1957.
Born in New Orleans, Harold attended the Dillard University, where be became accomplished as a saxophonist, pianist, and arranger.
After forming his own group at the time, Harold, in 1961, set up the first African American musician-owned record label.
All For One Records, was also known as AFO Records.
The imprint released Barbara George’s ‘I Know (You Don't Love Me No More)’, and the first album by Ellis Marsalis, ‘The Monkey Puzzle’.
As a producer and arranger, harold’s work included Joe Jones' ‘You Talk Too Much’, Lee Dorsey's ‘Ya Ya’, and Sonny and Cher's ‘I Got You Babe’.
He helped break the career of Mac Rebennack (a.k.a Dr. John), going on to produce the singers initial album releases.
For a long period, Harold resided in Los Angeles, as musical director for Sonny & Cher.
He worked with the artist Tom Waits in the late seventies.
In the late Eighties, Harold had become a lecturer.
He established the AFO Foundation, a non-profit service and educational organization, which documented the heritage of New Orleans music.
In 1998, the City of New Orleans proclaimed his birthday as Harold Battiste Day.
b. Wendell Holmes, 19th December 1943, Christchurch, Virginia, U.S.A.
d. 19th June 2015, Rosedale, Maryland, U.S.A.
Wendell Holmes, the Vocalist, Guitarist, Pianist and Songwriter for The Holmes Brothers, has died. Wendell was 71.
Wendell passed away due to complications relating to pulmonary hypertension.
Recently, Wendell was living in Rosedale, Maryland.
Sherman Holmes resides in Saluda, Virginia, whilst Popsy Dixon died of bladder cancer earlier this year.
Along with his brother, Sherman, and Popsy Dixon, The Holmes Brothers were an American trio originally from Christchurch, Virginia.
The Holmes Brothers sound included several genres, including blues, soul, gospel, country, and rhythm & blues.
The trio had performed alongside the likes of Van Morrison and Phoebe Snow.
They performed for for President Bill Clinton.
Wendell, himself, toured with Inez and Charlie Foxx (who sang the hit ’Mockingbird’) up until 1979.
mighty sam mcclain
b. Samuel McClain, 15th April 1943, Monroe, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 16th June 2015, U.S.A.
The Soul and Blues singer, Mighty Sam McClain, has died. Sam was 72.
He had suffered a stroke earlier this year. The cause of death is not yet known.
Born in Monroe, Louisiana, a young Sam McClain began singing in his mother church, at a very early age.
At the start of his tens, Sam left home to tour the Chitlin' circuit, along with the guitarist Melvin Underwood.
Two years later, and Sam had become the lead singer in the group.
In 1966, Sam was discovered by the deejay Papa Don Schroeder in Pensacola, Florida.
Sam recorded a version of the Patsy Cline song ‘Sweet Dreams’.
Further recordings followed at the Muscle Shoals studio’s, including ‘Fannie-May’ and ‘In the Same Old Way’.
When he was not performing, or recording, Sam worked in several labouring jobs.
By 1989, he had began touring and recording in Japan.
During the early Nineties, Sam had relocated to New England.
Collaborating with Joe Harley and AudioQuest Music, Sam releasing ‘Give It Up To Love’ and ‘Keep On Movin'.
He relocated again, this time to New Hampshire, releasing ‘Sledgehammer Soul and Down Home Blues’.
Further releases followed, including ‘Journey’ and ‘Joy & Pain’ for the CrossCut Records imprint.
His final AudioQuest released was ‘Soul Survivor: The Best of Mighty Sam McClain’ in 1999.
Sam signed to the Telarc Blues imprint in 1999, releasing ‘Blues for the Soul’ (in 2000) and ‘Sweet Dreams’ (in 2001).
Sam then set up McClain Productions, and set up his own record label, Mighty Music.
‘One More Bridge To Cross’ was released in February 2003, ‘Betcha Didn't Know’ in 2009, which was nominated by the Blues Association as ‘the Soul/Blues Album of 2010'.
In 2008, Sam set up the 'Give US Your Poor' project, which was designed to help the homeless.
He later co-wrote (with the saxophonist Scott Shetler), ‘Show Me the Way’.
Sam performed at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, and at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
In 2009, he recorded an album of duets with the Iranian folk singer, Mahsa Vahdat, entitled ‘Scent of Reunion: Love Duets Across Civilizations’.
In 2012, Sam recorded ‘Too Much Jesus (Not Enough Whiskey)’ , the title track penned by Sam and Pat Herlehy.
The song was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the 'Best Song' category.
In 2014, Sam appeared on the compilation ‘Songs from a Stolen Spring’.
b. Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman, 9th March 1930, Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.A.
d. 11th June 2015, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
The jazz saxophonist, violinist, trumpeter and composer, Ornette Coleman, has died. He was 85.
Ornette passed away following a cardiac arrest in New York City.
Ornette Coleman was an integral part of the free jazz movement of the Sixties.
Hailing from Fort Worth, Texas, Ornette attended the I.M. Terrell High School, after which, in 1949, he toured with a traveling show.
Whilst in Louisiana, Ornette was attacked and his saxophone was destroyed.
He began playing on the alto saxophone, joining the Pee Wee Crayton band.
Ornette worked in a non musical role as an elevator operator.
In 1958, he had began recording his music, which resulted in the album ’Something Else!!!!: The Music of Ornette Coleman’, followed a year later by ‘Tomorrow Is the Question!’.
At the beginning of the Sixties, Ornette signed to the Atlantic Records imprint, releasing ‘The Shape of Jazz to Come’.
He began gigging in New York City, initially at the Five Spot jazz club.
At Atlantic he formed a quartet (featuring: Alto Saxophone-Ornette Coleman, Bass-Charlie Haden, Drums-Billy Higgins and Trumpet-Don Cherry), releasing ‘Change Of The Century’, in 1960.
‘Free Jazz’ was intended, initially, as an album title, but soon became a new genre.
Following his stay at Atlantic Records, Ornette moved into the mid Sixties and early Seventies performing avant garde jazz.
His quartet went their separate ways, and Ornette formed a new trio with David Izenzon on bass, and Charles Moffett on drums.
Between 1965 and 1967, Ornette signed with Blue Note Records.
In 1966, he released ‘The Empty Foxhole’, for the imprint.
Another quartet followed, along with an emerging use of a string section.
In 1969, Ornette was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame.
He began experimenting with various styles including free funk and jazz fusion.
In 1976, he released ‘Dancing in Your Head’, which featured the use of electric guitars.
Jerry Garcia later played guitar on three tracks on the 1988 album ‘Virgin Beauty’.
Ornette performed with the Grateful Dead on stage in 1993.
He also collaborated with Pat Metheny in 1985.
In the Nineties, Ornette played in David Cronenberg's ‘Naked Lunch’.
Ornette released four records in 1995 and 1996, and worked with the piano players Geri Allen and Joachim Kühn.
In 2004, Ornette was awarded the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize.
In 2006 he released the live album ‘Sound Grammar’.
In 2007, Ornette was awarded a Grammy award for lifetime achievement.
He was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Music from the University of Michigan.
Ornette married the poet Jayne Cortez in 1954, the couple later divorcing in 1964. They had one son, Denardo, born in 1956, who became a jazz drummer.
b. Mel Waiters, 25th June 1956, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.
b. 28th May 2015, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.
The blues and R&B singer, Mel Waiters, has died. Mel was 58.
The singer had been battling cancer, his booking agent confirmed.
Mel was born in San Antonio, Texas, where he sang in the church choir.
By the 1970’s he was performing in nightclubs across the region.
Mel became radio DJ, as well as performing at military bases.
In 1995, he released his first album, ‘I’m Serious’, for the Serious Sound imprint.
In 1996 and 1998, he won the Jackson Music Award.
He went on to record for several other labels, including the Waldoxy subsidiary of Malaco Records.
During his career he released several singles, which included, ‘Hole In The Wall’, ‘Man Shoes’, ‘Show You How To Love Again’, ‘How Can I Get Next To You’ and ‘The Smaller The Club’.
The label included the likes of Marvin Sease, Denise LaSalle and Willie Clayton.
Mel’s most recent album was ‘True Love’, on his own Brittney Records label.
His cousin is blues singer Walter Waiters.
Mel is survived by his wife, Portia, and his daughter, Brittney.
b. Marcus Belgrave, 12th June 1936, Chester, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 24th May 2015, Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.
The Jazz trumpeter, Marcus Belgrave, has died. Marcus was 78.
He passed away from heart failure, as a result of complications relating to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Marcus had been hospitalized since April.
He had, throughout his career, performed alongside many famous musicians, bandleaders, and for several record imprints since the Fifties.
When Marcus was young he was was tutored by Clifford Brown before joining the Ray Charles touring band ('Ray Charles At Newport').
The collaboration led to associations with the likes of Max Roach, Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Eric Dolphy, Aretha Franklin, Wynton Marsalis and Joe Henderson.
Marcus was a professor of music at Oberlin University, in Oberlin Ohio, and was the co-founder of the Jazz Studies Program at The Detroit Metro Arts Complex, and the Jazz Development Workshop in Detroit.
He was a faculty member at Stanford Jazz Workshop, tutoring various performers, including Kenny Garrett, Regina Carter and Geri Allen.
Marcus is featured in the video series, ‘Ray Charles, Genius’.
b. Louis E. Johnson, 13th April 1955, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 21st May 2015, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
The bassist in the Soul and Funk duo the Brothers Johnson, Louis Johnson, has died. Louis was 60.
Louis was found dead on the 21st of May at his home in Las Vegas. He was 60.
His death was confirmed by Jeff Mullen, the Brothers Johnson’s manager, who said the cause had not been determined.
Louis particular style of bass playing earned him the nickname of ‘Thunder-Thumbs’.
As a session bassist, Louis’s contributions can be heard on Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ album.
Louis played bass on on Michael’s ‘Off the Wall’ band Dangerous albums, also contributing to George Benson's evergreen ‘Give Me the Night’ album and played bass on Herb Alpert's 1979 album ‘Rise’.
Other album contributions included Stanley Clarke’s ‘Time Exposure’ album, George Duke’ ‘Guardian of the Light’ and ‘Thief in the Night’ albums, Jeffrey Osborne’s self titled debut and ‘Stay with Me Tonight’ albums and Quincy Jones' ‘Mellow Madness’ album.
Along with his brother, George, the Brothers Johnson scored several hits throughout the Seventies and early Eighties, including ‘Stomp’, ‘Get The Funk Out Ma Face’, ‘I’ll Be Good To You’, ‘Strawberry Letter 23’, ‘Ain’t We Funkin’ Now’ and ‘Streetwave’.
Louis released one solo album in 1985, entitled ‘Evolution’ for the Capitol Records imprint.
He retired from the business to spend more time with his wife and son, for a couple on years.
In 1988 he returned to the recording studio.
Louis set up his own bass academy during the 1990’s.
b. Bruce Lundvall, 13th September 1935, Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.A.
d. 19th May 2015, New Jersey, U.S.A.
The recently retired President of Blue Note Records, Bruce Lundvall, has died. He was 79.
Bruce had suffered from complications related to his battle with Parkinson's Disease, and underwent surgery but never regained consciousness.
Bruce was responsible for the signings of Norah Jones, Herbie Hancock and Bobby McFerrin, to the imprint.
He, additionally, signed a multitude of artists throughout his career, including Willie Nelson, Dexter Gordon, Woody Shaw, James Taylor, Stan Getz, Wynton Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Richard Marx, Natalie Cole, Cassandra Wilson and Anita Baker.
Bruce, initially, began his career in the marketing section of Columbia Records.
He, later, became the President of the domestic division of CBS Records in 1976.
He switched labels, moving to Elektra Records in 1982.
By 1984, he helped create the Manhattan imprint, and then was enlisted to rejuvenate the Blue Note label.
Bruce helped bring back the label's earlier stars, including, Jimmy Smith, McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson & Jackie McLean, and the likes of Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Michel Petrucciani and John Scofield.
He later stood down as President of Blue Note in 2010.
Bruce is survived by his wife, Kay Lundvall, three sons, and two grand-daughters.
ortheia barnes (a.k.a. ortheia barnes-kennerly)
b. Ortheia Barnes-Kennerly, 1945, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 15th May 2015, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Soul and Jazz songstress, Ortheia Barnes, has died. She was 70.
Ortheia passed away from congestive heart failure.
She had endured two strokes in the previous two years.
During the Sixties, Ortheia recorded for a few independent Detroit labels, including Mickay Records, Ring Records, and Coral Records.
She later recorded for the 20th Century, Michigan Satellite, and Noteworthy imprints.
Although she was not a labelmate of the Motown roster, she performed on stage with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight.
Her older brother was J.J. Barnes, who released the single ‘Baby Please Come Back Home’.
Ortheia sang alongside her brother in The Halo Gospel Singers (whose members were: J. J. Barnes, Ortheia Barnes, Johnny Starks, Charles Sims, Calvin Southern, and Donald Southern).
She was, also, a member of the group the Freedom Soldiers (whose line-up included, Ortheia, Sandra Feva, and Pat Lewis).
Other groups she featured in were Cut Glass and Hott City (in 1979 and 1980).
As a stage singer, Ortheia performed at events for Pope John Paul II, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela.
She sang background vocals for Aretha Franklin.
In the 1990’s she worked on the Michigan Council of the Arts.
In later life, Ortheia became a Detroit community activist, and ordained minister.
Her husband, Robert Kennerly (also an ordained minister), broke the news regarding Ortheia’s passing whilst en-route to the U.S.Virgin Islands.
A funeral service has been scheduled for veteran Detroit singer.
A funeral service is set for noon May 26 at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, 18700 James Couzens in Detroit.
b. Riley B. King, 16th September 1925, Itta Bena, Mississippi, U.S.A.
d. 14th May 2015, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
The Blues guitarist, B.B. King, has died. He was 89.
On the 1st of May 2015, following two hospitalizations caused by complications from high blood pressure and diabetes, B.B. was given hospice care at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada.
B.B. passed away as a result of a series of small strokes.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at No. 6 on its 2011 list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time
He was, also, ranked No. 17 in Gibson's ‘Top 50 Guitarists of All Time’.
B.B. King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
He was also inducted into 2014 class of the R&B Music Hall of Fame, the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980, and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
B.B. was married twice, firstly to Martha Lee Denton, (between 1946 and 1952), and to Sue Carol Hall, (between 1958 and 1966).
Touring schedules led to the failings of both marriages.
B.B. lived with Type II diabetes for over 20 years.
His initials stood for 'Blues Boy'.
b. Guy Hughes Carawan Jr., 28th July 1927, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 2nd May 2015, New Market, Tennessee, U.S.A.
The folk musician, Guy Carawan, has died. Guy was 87.
In recent years, he had suffered from dementia.
Guy was the Musical Director for the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee.
In 1960, Guy performed in front of a group of Black students in Raleigh, North Carolina, and sang ‘We Shall Overcome’.
The song went on to become an anthem sung at the Selma-to-Montgomery marches of 1965.
It was also used in the apartheid-era South Africa, in international demonstrations in support of the Tiananmen Square protesters, and at the fall of the Berlin Wall.
‘We Shall Overcome’ was originally a black spiritual, appreciated by Zilphia Horton, the wife of the founder of the Highlander Folk School.
Guy reintroduced it at the school when he became its music director in 1959.
The song’s lyrics originated with ‘I’ll Overcome Some Day’, a hymn by a black Methodist minister, Charles Albert Tindley, that was published at the turn of the 20th century.
In 1945, the song became known as ‘We Will Overcome’, and was used at picket lines by striking tobacco workers in Charleston, South Carolina.
‘We Shall Overcome’ is copy-written in the name of Zilphia Horton, Frank Hamilton, Guy Carawan and Pete Seeger.
Born in California in 1927, Guy Carawan attended the Occidental College in 1949.
He, initially, visited the Highlander Folk School in 1953, later taking charge of the music program pioneered by Zilphia Horton.
She had founded the school with her husband, Myles, in 1932, in order to train social justice leaders in a racially mixed setting.
Zilphia died in an accident in 1956.
During a student lunch-counter sit-in movement in 1960, Guy taught the students the song ‘We Shall Overcome’.
The song took hold in other places of education, taking on an important role during the Civil Rights Movement.
To this day, royalties from the commercial use of ‘We Shall Overcome’ are donated to a fund that supports social and cultural programs in the South.
b. Lester Errol Brown, b. 12th November 1944, Kingston, Jamaica.
d. 6th May 2015, The Bahamas.
The lead singer, from the group Hot Chocolate, Errol Brown, has died. Errol was 71.
Errol had been suffering from liver cancer.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Errol’s family relocated to the U.K. in 1955.
In 1969, he recorded a version of John Lennon's ‘Give Peace a Chance’.
After some early resistance, John’s Apple label gave permission for the version to be released.
Hot Chocolate formed in Brixton, London, England.
Members of the group around Errol Brown included Tony Connor, Larry Ferguson, Harvey Hinsley, Derek Lewis, Pat Olive and Tony Wilson.
The group’s hits included ‘You Could Have Been A Lady’, ‘You Sexy Thing’, ‘Emma’, ‘So You Win Again’ and ‘Brother Louie’.
In the Queen's birthday honours list of June 2003, Errol was awarded an MBE by the Queen for "services to popular music".
In 2004 he received an Ivor Novello Award for outstanding contributions to British music.
ben e. king
b. Benjamin Earl Solomon, 28th September 1938, Sandy Greek, Warren County, North Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 30th April 2015, Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, New Jersey, U.S.A.
R&B singer, Ben E. King has died. He was 76.
Ben's agent confirmed that the singer died on the 30th of April from natural causes at his home in New Jersey.
His classic evergreen, 'Stand By Me', was covered on many occasions by a multitude of artists, including John Lennon.
As a member of the Drifters, Ben co-wrote and sang the lead on 'There Goes My Baby'.
The Drifters also hit the charts with 'Save the Last Dance for Me' and 'This Magic Moment'.
Ben left the Drifters in 1960 and launched a successful solo career.
The 1961 recording, 'Spanish Harlem', gave him his first solo hit.
'Stand By Me' was selected as one of the Songs of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Soul fans would look to his 1975 single, 'Supernatural Thing', as a particular career high point.
b. Anthony L. Drake, 19th April 1946, U.S.A.
d. 19th April 2015, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
The guitarist and songwriter, Tony Drake, has died. He was 69.
Tony passed away on his birthday.
Married to the recording artist, Lisa Gay-Drake, Tony performed alongside many performers throughout his career.
These included, Lou Rawls, Cher, Marvin Gaye and Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.
More recently, he had played alongside his wife, Lisa Gay-Drake.
Tony began playing professionally at the age of 14, in Los Angeles
When he was 16, he attended the Dawkins Conservatory of Music.
He toured alongside Little Johnny Taylor, Johnnie Taylor, Ronnie Dyson, T-Bone Walker and other artists in the Sixties.
In the Seventies Tony became a staff musician at 20th Century Fox Studios.
He later signed with A&M Records, and began touring with Herb Alpert, Merry Clayton, Cheech & Chong amongst others.
He was also a member of the Count Basie Orchestra and H.B. Barnum’s Band.
Tony joined the Checkmates, later touring with the Fifth Dimension, Gloria Lynne, Little Esther Phillips, Aretha Franklin, Marla Gibbs, Crusaders, The, Jimmy Witherspoon, Cher, Tina Turner, Marvin Gaye, Barry White and The Sylvers.
For a while he became a member of the legendary the Funk Brothers, following the relocation from Detroit.
He recorded with the likes of David T. Walker, Ray Parker Jr., Wah Wah Watson, Bill Upchurch and James Gadson.
In the Nineties, Tony toured with En Vogue.
b. Jonathan Kemp, 2nd August 1959, Nassau, Bahamas.
d. 16th April 2015, Montego Bay, Jamaica.
The Soul singer, Johnny Kemp, has died. Johnny was 55.
According to Jamaica police, Johnny was found floating at a beach in Montego Bay.
One report stated that he was on a cruise organized by the radio host Tom Joyner.
Johnny began his singing career as a teenager in the Bahamas before relocating to New York in 1979, where he became part of the group Kinky Fox (who recorded ’So Different’).
During the mid-Eighties, Johnny recorded hits including ‘Just Another Lover’ and ‘Dancin’ with Myself’, from his 1986 ’Secrets of Flying’ album.
In 1989, Johnny recorded ‘Birthday Suit’, a track from the soundtrack to the movie, ‘Sing’.
He was scheduled to perform for the Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage Cruise at this time.
Johnny is survived by a wife and two sons.
b. Cecil Hunt Sr., 27th July 1940, Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A.
d. 12th April 2015, Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A.
Cecil Hunt, Sr., (of the Seventies Funk band, Funk Incorporated), has died. Cecil was 74.
He was Funk Incorporated’s conga player, performing alongside Steve Weakley, Gene Barr, Bobby Watley and Jimmy Munford, in the group.
The group were founded in Indianapolis in 1969 by organist Bobby Watley, who recruited tenor saxman Eugene Barr, guitarist Steve Weakley, drummer Jimmy Munford and Cecil.
Funk Incorporated sent a tape to Prestige's A & R department in March 1971 postmarked 'Indianapolis' along with a note of recommendation from Brother Jack McDuff.
In the early 1970's, the original line-up came to the attention of Bob Porter, a highly regarded producer who signed Funk, Inc. to Prestige and paved the way for the band to record five albums for that label.
The band's line-up included Bobby Watley on organ.
After stressing a looser approach on the first three albums 'Funk Inc.', 'Chicken Lickin' and 'Hangin' Out', the group began to lose their way in the mid-1970's and turned to heavier production, with more arranging and background vocals.
This newer approach led to tension within the group, and Funk Inc. went their separate ways in 1976.
Sadly, the original members Jimmy Munford and Gene Barr passed away a few years earlier.
It was during the 1990's a few of Funk Inc.’s 1970's albums were released on CD.
Cecil was preceded in death by his wife, parents and brothers.
His surviving family members include his children: Cecil Hunt, Jr., Vicki Phillips-Terrell and Corrie Smith (Jerelle); siblings and other loving family and friends.
Cecil’s visitation will be on Friday the 17th of April 2015, 10am - 11am, with the Homegoing Celebration at 11am in Williams & Bluitt Funeral Home Peoples Chapel.
b. Percy Tyrone Sledge, 25th November 1941, Leighton, Alabama, U.S.A.
d. 14th April 2015, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.A.
Percy Sledge, probably best remembered for his 1966 evergreen Soul hit, ‘When A Man Loves A Woman’, has died. Percy was 73, and had been suffering from liver cancer.
‘When A Man Loves A Woman’ became a Top 40 hit record.
The hit overshadowed, somewhat unfairly, a fine career spanning the late Sixties and early Seventies.
Born in Leighton, Alabama, his early career covered several roles (in farming and in health), before becoming a touring vocalist in the early Sixties.
He toured with the likes of the Esquires Combo whilst still working in hospital, which was where he was introduced (through the recommendation of a patient at the hospital) to the record producer Quin Ivy.
Percy’s debut single ‘When A Man Loves A Woman’ b/w ‘Love Me Like You Mean It’ was subject to a response record, this time round to another 1966 single from Esther Phillips entitled ‘When A Woman Loves A Man’.
Percy’s single reached number 1 in the U.S.A., and reached number 4 in 1966 and number 2 in 1987 in the U.K.
It was also the first gold record released by Atlantic Records.
In 2004, Percy was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Percy was was the cousin to the Soul singer Jimmy Hughes.
b. William E. Butler, 7th June 1945, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. 1st April 2015, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
It has been reported that the singer, Billy Butler has passed away. Billy died in his sleep early in the morning of the 1st of April, at home in Chicago.
Billy is probably best remembered for his Northern Soul hit 'The Right Track', which was released in 1966.
He was part of the groups Billy Butler and the Enchanters, and Billy Butler & Infinity.
Billy recorded for Curtis Mayfield's Curtom Records imprint during the mid Seventies.
His brother is the recording artist Jerry Butler.
Leak & Sons Funeral Home and Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church of Christ.
The funeral services for Billy Butler are as follows:
Viewing - Friday - April 3 - 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Leak & Sons Funeral Home
7838 S. Cottage Grove Ave.,Chicago, IL., 60619
Prepast - Saturday - April 4 - 10:00 am
Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church of Christ
4100 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., Chicago, IL. 60653
FUNERAL - Saturday - 11:00 am
Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church of Christ
4100 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., Chicago, IL. 60653
b. Paul Jeffrey, 8th April 8 1933, New York City, U.S.A.
d. 20th March 20 2015, Durham, North Carolina, U.S.A.
The saxophonist, arranger, and teacher, Paul Jeffrey, has died. Paul was 81.
Throughout her career, Paul performed with many performers, including, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Lionel Hampton and B.B. King.
Born in New York, Paul graduated from Kingston High School in 1951.
He went on to become a Bachelor of Science at Ithaca College in 1955.
In the fifties he toured with several bands, who featured the likes of Illinois Jacquet, Elmo Hope, Big Maybelle, and Wynonie Harris.
He later toured the U.S. with B.B. King, Howard McGhee, Clark Terry, and Dizzy Gillespie.
In 1968, he released the album ‘Electrifying Sounds’ on Savoy Records.
He toured with the Count Basie Orchestra, and collaborated with Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus.
Paul performed with Thelonious Monk’s band at various shows throughout he US and Japan.
In 1974, he set up a 15-piece band for a tribute concert to Thelonious Monk at Carnegie Hall.
Throughout the seventies, Paul collaborated with Charles Mingus, performing with the Mingus’s big band at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1972.
During 1973 and 1974, he released 3 studio recordings on the Mainstream Records label.
As a teacher, he taught saxophone at Columbia University in 1973.
He went on to teach at Jersey City State College in 1974, the University of Hartford between 1975 and 1983), at Livingston College of Rutgers University, between 1978 and 1983, and at Duke University, between 1983 and 2003.
Paul helped organize the NC/Umbria Jazz Festival and the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival.
In 2009, he recorded a tribute to Thelonious Monk for the Imago Records imprint.
Up until his passing, Paul lived in Durham, North Carolina.
b. Michael Joseph Porcaro, 29th May 1955, South Windsor, Connecticut, U.S.A.
d. 15th March 2015, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The bassist, Mike Porcaro, passed away on the 15th of March 2015. Mike was 59.
He had been suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and died in his sleep at his home in Los Angeles.
Probably, best remembered for his role within the group Toto, Mike was active on many a Soul performers tours and albums.
Mike was the middle brother of Toto members Jeff Porcaro and Steve Porcaro.
Mike toured with Michael Franks, Seals & Crofts, Larry Carlton, and Boz Scaggs.
His album C.V. included album collaborations with Harvey Mason (’Til You Take My Love’), Lee Ritenour, The Hues Corporation, Gap Mangione, Deniece Williams (‘When Love Comes Calling’), Aretha Franklin (‘Love Me Forever’), The Pointer Sisters, Dionne Warwick, Syreeta (‘Freedom’), Natalie Cole (‘Good To Be Back’), Donna Summer, Joe Farrell and Michael McDonald.
In 2007, a growing numbness in his fingers that made it increasingly difficult for him to play, and he retired from performing that year.
Former band members of Toto, (including Steve Porcaro), toured Europe in fund raising support of him in 2010.
By 2012, Mike was in a wheelchair as the disease took it’s toll.
b. Willie Mae Taplin, 7th December 1924, Burton, Texas, U.S.A.
d. 12th March 2015, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
The Civil Rights campaigner, the Reverend Willie Taplin-Barrow, has died. She was 90.
Willie was not only the godmother of the current U.S. President, Barack Obama, she was also the mother of the late Soul Singer, Keith Barrow (who recorded ‘You Know You Want To Be Loved’).
She was nicknamed ‘The Little Warrior’, due to the fact she was only, just, 5 feet in height.
Born in Burton, Texas, to Nelson and Octavia Taplin, Willie was one of a large family.
She had six brothers and sisters.
Willie began her Civil Rights campaigning at a very early age, organising protests regarding the lack of bus transport for black students, who were made to walk to school, whilst the White kids were allowed to ride.
As a teenager, she relocated to Portland, Oregon, in order to study at the Warner-Pacific Theological Seminary.
Willie went on to work with other African American residents in Portland who combined to create one of the first black Churches of God.
In 1943, Willie joined the National Urban League.
In 1945, she joined the National Council of Negro Women.
During World War 2, Willie took on a role as a welder at the Kaiser shipyards in Swan Island, Washington.
It was there where she met, her soon to be, husband Clyde Barrow (the two were married for 56 years).
keith, willie and clyde barrow during the seventies
Willie and Clyde traveled to Chicago in June 1945, where she began working as the youth minister at the Langley Avenue Church of God.
In the 1950’s Willie worked as an organiser with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and in the 1960’s she worked on Operation Breadbasket with the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
In 1969, she was awarded the Woman Of The Year award in Chicago.
Willie was an active campaigner in the 1963 march on Washington and the 1965 march on Selma, Alabama.
She was also the co-chairman of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
Willie was a strong campaigner against the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
She led a delegation to North Vietnam in 1968.
with jesse jackson in 1984
In 1984, Willie worked with Reverend Jesse Jackson as campaign manager for Jesse’s 1984 presidential bid.
In 1997, a street on Chicago's South Side was renamed in Reverend Barrow's honour.
Willie crusaded on issues such as A.I.D.S. in the black community, children's welfare, and domestic violence.
She was a civil rights icon hailed for her unwavering pursuit of justice.
charmayne ' maxee' maxwell
b. Charmayne Maxwell, 11th January 1969, Guyana, South America
d. 27th February 2015, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The singer with the group Brownstone, Charmayne Maxwell, has died.
Charmayne died as a result of complications, following a recent fall. She was 46.
Brownstone were a Grammy-nominated band, who were best known for their 1995 hit single, ‘If You Love Me’.
Charmayne later released a solo single entitled ‘When I Look Into Your Eyes’ in 2000.
She was a member of Brownstone between 1994 until 1998, later rejoining the group between 2007 and 2015)
Charmayne was married to the Danish producer Soulshock.
b. 14th December 1920, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
d. 21st February 2015, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
The Jazz trumpter, Clark Terry, has died. Clark was 94.
Clark died surrounded by his family, students and friends.
Earlier this month, Clark entered hospice care for treatment concerning his advanced diabetes.
Clark had played with some of the great jazz musicians of the last century, including the likes of Charlie Barnett, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Quincy Jones.
Hailing from St. Louis, Clark attended the Vashon High School, later becoming a band player in the United States Navy during World War II.
The the Forties and Fifties, he played with Count Basie and Duke Ellington’s bands.
In his early days, Clark had educated a young Miles Davis back in St. Louis.
Clark, later joined NBC, becoming their first African-American staff musician.
Over a ten year period, Clark appeared on ‘The Tonight Show’ as a member of house band.
By the 1980’s he became the featured soloist in that group.
In late 1980, he headlined alongside Anita O'Day, Lionel Hampton and Ramsey Lewis at the Blue Note Lounge at the Marriott O'Hare Hotel near Chicago.
Clark continued collaborating with various musicians including J. J. Johnson, Oscar Peterson, and Bob Brookmeyer.
Up until the 1990s, Clark performed at Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, and Lincoln Center.
In 1998, Clark recorded ‘Let's Call the Whole Thing Off’ for the album ‘Red Hot + Rhapsody’, and in 2001, he contributed to the album ‘Red Hot + Indigo’, (a tribute to Ellington).
Throughout his career, Clark performed for seven U.S. Presidents, and performed with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Dutch Metropole Orchestra, and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra.
Clark’s recording of the ‘Theme To The Flintstones ‘, became a popular novelty hit on the Acid Jazz scene during the Eighties.
Dizzy Gillespie once described Terry as the ‘greatest jazz trumpet player on earth’.
b. Kenneth Bernard Kelley (a.k.a. Kelly), 9th January 1941, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.A.
d. 17th February 2015, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Kenneth ‘Wally’ Kelley, the last surviving founding member of the Manhattans, has died. Kenneth was 72.
Kenneth passed away, only 2 months after the passings of two other group members, Winfred ‘Blue’ Lovett (9th December 2014) and Edward ‘Sonny’ Bivins (3rd December 2014).
Born in Jersey City to Eloise and Lloyd Kelly, the singer had left the group, a few years ago, in order to follow a career as a qualified teacher in biology.
The Manhattans began their recording careers in the early Sixties (Kenneth had attended the Lincoln High School), after group members had been in the armed forces.
They recorded for Carnival Records, and later, Columbia Records.
Gerald Alston joined the group later on, and performed on their number one hit ‘Kiss and Say Goodbye’, in 1976.
Further hits followed, including ‘Hurt’, ‘I Kinda Miss You’, ’Shining Star’ and ’Crazy’.
Gerald departed the group in 1988, and was replaced by Roger Harris.
Services were held on Saturday the 28th of February, 2015, at 1 p.m. at the Perry Funeral Home, 34 Mercer St., Newark, N.J.
b. Lesley Sue Goldstein, 2nd May 1946, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
d. 16th February 2015, the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Manhattan, New York City, U.S.A.
The blue eyed soul singer and songwriter, Lesley Gore, has died. Lesley was 68.
She had been suffering from cancer, and passed away at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.
Lesley Gore will, probably, be best remembered for her 1963 pop hit, ‘It’s My Party, however her skills took her into the acting arena and, she later became an equal rights campaigner.
Born in New York City, Lesley attended the Dwight School for Girls, which is where she achieved her number one hit, ‘It's My Party’.
The single was followed by further hit’s, including ‘Judy's Turn to Cry’, ‘She's a Fool’, ‘You Don't Own Me’, ‘That's the Way Boys Are’, ‘Maybe I Know’, ‘Look of Love’ and the Grammy-nominated ‘Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows’.
In 1965, she appeared in the film ‘The Girls on the Beach’, performing the songs, ‘Leave Me Alone’, ‘It's Gotta Be You’ and ‘I Don't Want to Be a Loser’.
with quincy jones and millie small
Quincy Jones, worked with Lesley between 1963 and 1965, also releasing Marvin Hamlisch's first hit composition, ‘Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows’.
Quincy was later to cover a Lesley penned song, the title track from Lesley's 1976 album 'Love Me By Name', on his own 1978 project, 'Stuff Like That' (featuring Patti Austin).
Lesley performed on two episodes of the Batman TV series in 1967.
Bob Crewe’s 1967 song ‘California Nights’, reached number 16 that year.
Lesley attended the Sarah Lawrence College, studying literature.
She also composed songs for the soundtrack of the 1980 film ‘Fame’.
Lesley went on to perform in concerts and appeared on television throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
In 2005, she released the album ‘Ever Since’.
In 2004, Lesley hosted the television series ‘In the Life’, which focused on homosexuality issues.
Lesley spoke of her own sexuality, having lived with her female partner for more than 23 years.
It was Lesley’s partner who informed the media that Lesley had passed away from cancer.
b. Donald Randolph, 24th March 1938, Orangeburg, South Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 30th January 2015, Franklin Square, New York, U.S.A.
The R&B singer and songwriter, Don Covay, has died.
Don's passing has been confirmed by his daughter. He had suffered a stroke. Don was 76.
Don is best remembered for his self penned hits 'See Saw', 'Mercy, Mercy' and 'Sookie Sookie', whilst, as a songwriter for others, he penned 'Chain Of Fools' for Aretha Franklin.
In the 1990's, Don suffered a stroke, however, he recovered to release the album 'Adlib' in 2000.
b. Clifford Alanza Adams Snr., 8th October 1952, Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.A.
d. 12th January 2015, Capital Health Regional Medical Center, Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.A.
The trombonist, Clifford Adams, has died Clifford was 62.
Clifford passed away following a struggle with liver cancer.
Best known for his work within the second incarnation of the group, Kool and the Gang (‘Ladies Night, ‘Too Hot’ etc.), he had been suffering with medical issues for a year or so.
Clifford was without health insurance to cover medical expenses.
In recent weeks, his family and friends held several fundraisers to try to cover the cost of a liver transplant.
Apart from his work with Kool and the Gang, Clifford also collaborated with the likes of The Stylistics, Patti Labelle and the Bluebells and Duke Ellington’s Orchestra during his career.
He released two solo albums, namely, ‘The Master Power’ and ‘I Feel Your Spirit’.
Clifford founded the organisation DRUMM (Developmental Roundtable for the Upward Mobility of Musicians), which was dedicated in bringing music into Trenton schools.
b. Andra Edward Crouch, 1st July 1942, Compton, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 8th January 2015, Northridge Hospital Medical Center, Northridge, California, U.S.A.
The gospel singer, songwriter, arranger, recording artist, record producer, and pastor, Andraé Crouch, has died. Andraé was 72.
Andraé attended hospital in December, due to pneumonia and congestive heart failure.
He returned to hospital this month, following the postponement of a tour, in Los Angeles. Andraé had suffered a heart attack.
Andraé Crouch was born in 1942 in San Francisco, along with his twin sister, Sandra.
When he was 11, Andraé’s father suggested he speak at a local church, during which, Andraé played the piano.
He penned his first Gospel song at the age of 14.
In 1960, Andraé became part of the Church of God in Christ Singers (a.k.a. COGICS).
The singers group included the artist, Billy Preston.
Andraé attended the Valley Junior College in California forming the gospel group, The Disciples in 1965, along with Perry Morgan and Bill Thedford.
He was then introduced to Tim Spencer of Manna Music Publishing, who went on to publish Andraé’s song ‘The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power’.
Tim took the Disciples to the Light Records founder Ralph Carmichael, who released their first album, ‘Take The Message Everywhere’, in 1968.
Andraé began to record his compositions that year, including the aforementioned ‘The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power’, along with ‘Through It All’, ‘Bless His Holy Name’, ‘Soon and Very Soon’, ‘Jesus is the Answer’, and ‘My Tribute’.
The Disciples went their separate ways in 1979.
Andraé pursued his solo career with an ensemble including Howard Smith, Linda McCrary, Táta Vega, and Kristle Murden and The Andraé Crouch Singers.
His recordings featured many major artists, including Joe Sample, Wilton Felder, Dean Parks, David Paich, Phillip Bailey and Stevie Wonder.
Andraé has co-produced projects for The Winans, Danniebelle Hall, and Kristle Murden.
In 2006, Andraé released ‘Mighty Wind’, a 40th anniversary album featuring guest performances by Lauren Evans, Crystal Lewis, Karen Clark Sheard, Táta Vega, and Marvin Winans.
Andraé Crouch helped merge Christian music within various ethnic groups.
In 1987, the Andraé Crouch Choir sang background vocals on Michael Jackson's hit single ‘Man in the Mirror’ from the singers album ‘Bad’.
Andraé, also, became the Senior Pastor at Christ Memorial Church of God in Christ in Pacoima, California, (the church founded by his parents).
b. Jeffrey Golub, 15th April 1955, Copley, Near Akron, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 1st January 2015, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
The guitarist and session performer, Jeff Golub, passed away, on New Years Day, at the age of 59.
Jeff’s passing followed a serious of health issues.
In 2011, he suffered the collapse of an optic nerve, leaving him blind.
As a result, Jeff was nearly killed after falling onto some subway tracks.
As a performer, Jeff released 12 solo albums and three CDs as the leader of the instrumental band, Avenue Blue.
His performances saw him collaborating with Rod Stewart, who he worked with between 1988 until 1995.
Jeff studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, performing with The James Montgomery Band.
He relocated to New York in 1980, where he worked with Billy Squier, (Jeff appeared on all of Billy’s Capitol albums).
Jeff, also, worked alongside Hammond legend Brian Auger and Brian’s guest vocalists Christopher Cross and former Ambrosia leader David Pack.
Jeff released his first solo recording, ‘Unspoken Words’ for Gaia Records in 1988.
As band leader and performer he released ‘Avenue Blue’ in 1994.
He was also a member of Dave Koz & The Kozmos.
In June 2011, Jeff became blind due to collapse of the optic nerve.
In 2012, he fell onto the tracks of a subway train, and was taken to the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center with minor injuries.
In 2014, Jeff was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy, which, eventually took his life on the 1st of January 2015.
2014...those we fondly remember...