'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.)
b. Charles Edward Bradley, 5th November 1948, Gainesville, Florida, U.S.A.
d. 23rd September 2017, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
The Soul singer, Charles Bradley, has died. He was 68.
Charles had been diagnosed with stomach cancer in October 2016.
He was signed to the Daptone Records label , which pioneered the funk and soul sound from the 1960s and 1970s.
Born in Gainesville, Florida Charles was abandoned by his mother at the age of eight months of age
His Grandmother took him to live with her in Brooklyn, New York.
In the early Sixties, Charles saw James Brown perform.
These shows gave a young Charles the inspiration for his later stage performances.
When he was fourteen, he ran away from home.
He lived on the streets during the day and slept at night in subway cars for two years.
Charles enlisted in the Job Corps which took him to Maine to train as a chef.
A colleague told him he looked like James Brown, after which Charles joined a band, and started performing some of the ‘Godfather’s’ material.
Charles remained as a chef as well, working in Maine as a cook for a ten year period.
In 1996, he was reunited with his mother.
Moving back to Brooklyn, Charles became a James Brown impersonator in local clubs under the name ‘Black Velvet’.
Charles was eventually discovered by Gabriel Roth, a co-founder of Daptone Records.
Daptone went on to release Charles’ recordings, including ‘No Time for Dreaming’ & ‘Soul of America’ in 2011 and 2012.
He released the album ’Victim of Love’ in 2013, which was followed buy ‘Changes’ in 2016.
b. Anthony Ransom, 23rd January 1962, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. 11th September 2017, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
The singer, Tony Ransom, has died. Tony was 55.
Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Tony Ransom sang background vocals for many artists, including Richard Marx, Michael Bolton, Pete Cetera, R. Kelly, James Brown, Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King and Be Be & Ce Ce Winans.
ransom - 1985
He released one solo album for the U.S. based Expansion Records imprint, which was produced by Robert Irving III, with additional associate production from Miles Davis.
Tony, mainly was utilised as a House Music vocalist, releasing the 12” singles ‘In The Name Of Love’, ’Spread Some Love’, ‘Crazy’, ‘Didn’t Mean To Break Your Heart’, ‘Sanctified Lady’ and ‘Ice’, throughout the Nineties.
Tony voice also featured in the movie soundtrack for the film, ‘My Best Friends Wedding’ (starring Julia Roberts).
In 1994, Tony and Bobby Francavillo released a cover single of The Moment’s hit,’Sexy Mama’.
In recent years, he sang on the single ‘Heaven’ by the group Shinehouse.
Information for Tony’s memorial service is as follows:
Memorial Service - Tony Ransom
Wednesday - 20th September 2017 - 5:00 pm
All Purpose Room of Salem Baptist Church 10909 S. Cottage Grove, Chicago
b. Morris Ellis Sr., 23rd May 1929, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. 1st September 2017, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Morris Ellis, of the Morris Orchestra, has died. He was 88.
Morris led The Morris Ellis Orchestra for many years and was an accomplished trombone player.
He performed for many musicians, including Peabo Bryson, The Chi-Lites (‘A Letter To Myself’), Donny Hathaway (‘Everything Is Everything’), The Dells (‘Freedom Means’), The Impressions, Jerry Butler (‘The Spice Of Life’), Walter Jackson (‘Feeling Good’), Loleatta Holloway (‘Loleatta’), Eugene Record (‘Overdose Of Joy’), The Valentine Brothers and Ramsey Lewis amongst others.
Morris was a student in high school at Jean Baptiste Point DuSable High School in Chicago and was a graduate of Howard University.
Morris worked in Chicago's Juvenile court for 12 years.
His orchestra also backed many famous stars such as Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Natalie Cole, Diane Carol, and Joe Williams.
The orchestra performed at the inauguration of Chicago’s Mayor Harold Washington.
Morris retired in 2010.
b. Don Carlos Stevenson, 1940, Port Arthur, Texas, U.S.A.
d. 5th September 2017, Oakland, California, U.S.A.
The former lead singer of Tower of Power, Rick Stevens, has died. Rick was 77.
He passed away following a battle with cancer.
Rick joined Tower of Power as a replacement for the singer, Rufus Miller, in 1969.
He sang on the 1972 album ‘Bump City’, which featured the popular song ’You’re Still a Young Man’.
In the mid Seventies, Rick had become dependent on drugs, and was arrested as a result of a shooting.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment, went on to become clean of the addition, and was released on parole in 2012.
Rick formed a new group called Rick Stevens & Love Power.
The group toured in Northern California.
Tower of Power founder Emilio Castillo left a dedication on Tower Of Power’s Facebook page.
b. Walter Carl Becker, 20th February 1950, Queens, New York, U.S.A.
d. 3rd September 2017, Maui, Hawaii, U.S.A.
A founding member of the group Steely Dan, Walter Becker, has died. Walter was 67.
Walter’s official website reported that he had died, however, no cause of death or other details have yet been announced.
He was best known as the guitarist, bassist, and co-songwriter of Steely Dan.
Walter met his songwriting partner, Donald Fagen whilst at Bard College.
The duo relocated from New York to California in 1971, where they formed Steely Dan.
The group were hugely successful, and were together for a 10 year period.
Steely Dan released some of pop music’s classic albums, including ‘Can’t Buy A Thrill’ (in 1972, feat. ‘Reelin’ In The Years’), ‘Countdown To Ecstasy’ (in 1973), ‘Pretzel Logic’ (in 1974, feat. ‘Rikki Don't Lose That Number’), ‘Katy Lied’ (in 1975), ‘The Royal Scam’ (in 1976, feat. ‘Haitian Divorce’) and ‘Aja’ (in 1977, feat. ‘Peg’)
Walter then relocated to Hawaii, where his work continued, mainly as a record producer.
Steely Dan got back together in 1993, releasing ‘Two Against Nature’ in 2000.
Walter was married to Elinor, a yoga teacher, and they had two children.
b. Melissa Cecelia Ewen Bell, 5th March 1964, London, England.
d. 28th August 2017, England.
The former Soul II Soul vocalist, Melissa Bell, has died. Melissa was 53.
She had been suffering from diabetes, and subsequent kidney failure.
In addition to her part in the Soul II Soul story, Melissa was an artist in her own right, and was the mother of X Factor winner, Alexandra Burke.
She was the mother of four children (including singer Alexandra).
Melissa fronted the group Soul Explosion.
She had also worked with the likes of Liza Minnelli, Whitney Houston, and Stevie Wonder.
Melissa graduated from Southwark College in London Borough of Southwark, and worked in customer service for Marks and Spencer in her earlier career.
In 1992, she released the single ‘Reconsider’.
The following year she joined Soul II Soul.
Melissa left the group in 1995, and released several solo singles.
In 2010, she released her autobiography ‘Heart and Soul: The Emotional Autobiography of Melissa Bell’.
b. Charles Samuel Loeb, 7th December 1955, Nyack, New York, U.S.A.
d. 31st July 2017, U.S.A.
The Jazz guitarist, (and member of the group’s Steps ahead and Fourplay), Chuck Loeb has died. Chuck was 61. He had been fighting cancer.
From Nyack in New York, a young Chuck was influenced by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Cream, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan.
He became interested in Jazz guitar as a late teenager, influenced by the likes of Wes Montgomery, George Benson and John McLaughlin.
He studied in New York, relocating to Philadelphia and becoming a student of jazz guitarist Dennis Sandole and Jim Hall.
Chuck attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, before relocating back to New York City to pursue his career.
He began performing with the likes of Chico Hamilton, Ray Barreto, and Hubert Laws.
Chuck performed with Stan Getz's group, before joining the ranks of the group, Steps Ahead.
He went on to replace Larry Carlton as the guitarist in the Fusion group Fourplay.
As a solo performer, he released 1988’s debut album ‘My Shining Hour’ , followed by ‘The Music Inside’ in 1996.
Chucks music appeared in the movies ‘The Untouchables’, ‘You've Got Mail’, and ‘Hitch’.
He is survived by his wife, singer Carmen Cuesta Loeb, and daughters Lizzy and Christina.
b. Robert Edward Taylor, 18th February 1934, Washington, D.C., U.S.A..
d. 22nd July 2017, Hong Kong.
The singer and songwriter, Bobby Taylor, has died. Bobby was 83.
He passed away in Hong Kong, where he had resided for the previous 3 years.
Bobby (who helped bring the Jackson 5 to Motown in the late Sixties), died on Saturday morning, the 22nd of June 2017, at a hospital in Hong Kong.
He had been suffering from cancer, and was undergoing treatment for leukaemia and tumors in his spine.
image by courtesy of natasha johnson (claude's niece)
b. Claude Winslow Johnson, 24th November 1940, Slab Fork, West Virginia, U.S.A.
d. 18th July 2017, Jewish Home & Hospital, The Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
The singer with the group, New York City, Claude Johnson, has died. Claude was 76.
Claude had battled Alzheimer’s Disease in later years, according to his Grand Niece, Natasha Johnson.
He was the youngest of 11 children, relocating to New York in 1950.
Claude served in the U.S. Army between 1961 to 1963.
He was divorced, with no children. After New York City disbanded he performed a few local solo gigs.
Later on he worked as a career counselor for Martin Luther King Jr Educational Campus in Manhattan.
New York City are best remembered for their Sherman Marshall/Thom Bell penned hit ‘I’m Doin’ Fine Now’ in 1973.
claude johnson (front centre)
This vocalist was not the same R&B/Doo Wop singer who passed away in 2002 (and sang with Don & Juan).
b. John Blackwell Jr., 9th September 1973, Columbia, South Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 4th July 2017, Tampa, Florida, U.S.A.
The R&B, Funk, Jazz, Fusion, and pop drummer, John Blackwell, has died. John was 43.
In June 2016, John had lost the use of his left arm and leg, and was then diagnosed with a brain tumor.
John is best known for his work with Prince.
He was also a member of D'Angelo's backing band, The Vanguard.
Born in Columbia, South Carolina, John played drums from a very early age.
His father, (also a drummer) John Blackwell Sr., played drums for the likes of Mary Wells, King Curtis, Joe Simon, J.J. Jackson, The Drifters and The Spinners.
John attended the Berklee College of Music and then played drums for the group Cameo.
He performed with Patti LaBelle for three years, before joining Prince's band, The New Power Generation, in 2000.
John played drums for Prince for 12 years.
He also toured with Justin Timberlake, Crystal Kay, P Diddy and Charlie Singleton.
John also played with Maze, featuring Frankie Beverly.
b. Geri Allen, 12th June 1957, Pontiac, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 27th June 2017, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
The Jazz pianist and composer, Geri Allen, has died. Geri was 60.
She died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania following a battle with cancer.
Raised in Detroit, Michigan, Geri collaborated with many musicians, during her career.
These included Ornette Coleman, Ron Carter, Carmen Lundy, Tony Williams, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, McCoy Tyner, Andy Bey, Dwight Andrews, Mary Stallings, Carmen Lundy, Nnenna Freelon, Jay Hoggard, and Charles Lloyd.
During the early Eighties, she toured with Mary Wilson and The Supremes.
Geri was an Associate Professor of Music and the Director of the Jazz Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh.
In 2014, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music.
Geri was married to Wallace Roney.
b. James Albert Nalls, 31st May 1951, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
d. 22nd June 2017, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.
The American guitarist, from the group Sea Level, Jimmy Nalls, has died. Jimmy was 66.
He suffered from Parkinson's disease and died after a fall at his home.
Sea Level are fondly remembered, by Soul Music fans, for their Capricorn Records, 1978 instrumental, ‘Fifty Four’.
The group comprised of several members of the Allman Brothers Band.
Jimmy had lived in Nashville since the mid 1980s.
During his career, he collaborated with the likes of Dr. John, Gregg Allman, T. Graham Brown and Lee Roy Parnell.
Jimmy released his most recent album, ‘The Jimmy Nalls Project’, only a few days earlier.
The album featured the likes of Joe Bonamassa, Larry Carlton, Robben Ford, Warren Haynes, Jack Pearson, Johnny Hiland, J.D. Simo, Kenny Greenberg, along with ex Sea Level member, Chuck Leavell.
Jimmy’s Parkinson’s symptoms left him unable to play the guitar in recent years.
The recent project was intended to raise funds, which went to Jimmy’s care.
The proceeds now will go to his family.
b. Howard Curtis Womack, 22nd October 1942, Charleston, West Virginia, U.S.A.
d. 21st May 2017, Bluefield Regional Medical Center, Bluefield, Mercer County, West Virginia, U.S.A.
American soul singer with The Valentinos, Curtis Womack, has died. Curtis was 74.
He passed away from respiratory heart failure.
Along with his brother's Bobby, Cecil, Curtis, Harry and Friendly Womack, the group originally recorded as a Gospel group.
The Valentinos signed with Chess Records and recorded a number of hit singles.
The group backed Bobby on several of his 1970’s hit songs.
They also charted with the 1973 hit ‘I Can Understand It’.
Following the murder of Harry Womack in 1974, the group went their seperate ways.
Curtis is survived by his five children and thirteen grandchildren, as well as his his wife, Bernice Carruthers, and his brother Friendly, who is now the last surviving Womack brother.
b. 1958, U.S.A.
d. 23rd April 2017, Cape Girardeau, Scott, Missouri, U.S.A.
Kerry Turman, the bassist for Motown group The Temptations, has died. He was 59 years old.
He was a featured musician within the Temptations since the Eighties.
The coroner in Cape Girardeau County says Turman was found dead early Sunday at his hotel in Cape Girardeau, about 100 miles south of St. Louis.
Coroner John Clifton says an initial autopsy indicates Kerry had died from natural causes.
The full autopsy report is pending.
Kerry had performed with The Temptations since the 1980's.
The band were touring with the Beach Boys and performed recently in Cape Girardeau.
Kerry featured on many R&B recordings, by the likes of Gene Dunlap, Roy Ayers and the Temptations.
b. Cuba Gooding, 27th April 1944, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
d. 20th April 2017, Woodland Hills, California, U.S.A.
The ex-lead singer of the group the Main Ingredient, Cuba Gooding Snr, had died. Cuba was 72.
Cuba was found dead in his vehicle whilst parked on a street in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles.
CPR was performed by the fire department but they were unable to revive him.
Cuba was the lead singer of the soul group The Main Ingredient.
The Main Ingredients biggest hits were ‘Everybody Plays the Fool’ (1972) and ‘Just Don't Want to Be Lonely’ (1974).
He pursued a solo career during the late Seventies, recording for Motown, releasing two albums for the label.
The Main Ingredient’s version of Brian Auger's ‘Happiness Is Just Around the Bend’ in 1983 became another huge hit.
He sang vocals on the popular Soul dancer ‘Evening Of Love’ in 1981 (from their ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ album).
From New York, Cuba was the son of Dudley MacDonald Gooding and Addie Alston.
Due to family events, Cuba was, actually, named after the country.
He was the father of the actor Cuba Gooding Jr.
b. Steven Scott Miller, 22nd August 1951, Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.A.
d. 11th April 2017, Capital Health Regional Medical Center, Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.A.
The songwriter and drummer from the band Instant Funk, Scotty Miller, has died. He was 65.
Scotty was educated and graduated from Trenton Central High School.
Whilst at school, Raymond Earl met Scotty and they formed a group called The Music Machine.
The group gigged around New Jersey, before merging with another group called the TNJ’s.
Bunny Sigler took the group under his wing, releasing a couple of singles under that name.
The TNJ’s became Instant Funk, who went on to release 7 albums.
Scotty co-wrote Instant Funk’s evergreen 1979 dancer, ‘I Got My Mind Made Up’, as well as performed on many albums, by the likes of Carl Carlton, Gabor Szabo, Bunny Sigler, The Salsoul orchestra, Archie Bell & The Drells, Johnny Nash, Loleatta Holloway, Double Exposure, Evelyn Champagne King and The O’Jays amongst others.
Funeral service will be 11am Wed April 19, 2017 at Union Baptist Church 301 Pennington Ave. Trenton, NJ.
b. Sylvia Rose Moy, 15th September 1938, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 15th April 2017, Beaumont (Oakwood) Hospital, Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.A.
Sylvia Moy, Motown’s first female producer and songwriter, has died. Sylvia was 78.
She died of apparent complications from pneumonia, following a stay in Detroit's Harper University Hospital.
Sylvia penned (or co-penned) many of Motown’s most memorable songs, including ‘This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)’, ‘Uptight (Everything's Alright)’, ‘My Cherie Amour’, ‘I Was Made to Love Her’, ‘Never Had a Dream Come True’, ‘Angie Girl’, ‘Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day’, ’Forget Me Not’, ‘My Baby Loves Me’ and ‘It Takes Two’, for the artists Stevie Wonder, The Isley Brothers, Marvin Gaye, Kim Weston, and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.
Born in Detroit, Sylvia studied and performed jazz and classical music at school.
After joining Motown, Sylvia was said to have been responsible for the label keeping Stevie Wonder, after Stevie’s voice had broken, and Berry Gordy had planned to drop Stevie from the label.
Sylvia (along with fellow songwriter, Henry Cosby) were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006.
Henry Cosby's widow stated:
'Sylvia with her imaginative mind was just (groundbreaking). If she were a man instead of a woman, there would have been a lot more you’d have heard from her. But once her work became known, the resistance waned away, and the producers started looking at her differently and could see the value of what she was trying to do'.
b. Melinda Helen Matthews, 14th December 1924, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 10th April 2017, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
Linda Hopkins, the actress and gospel singer has died. Linda was 92.
Born in New Orleans, at the age of 11, she was discovered by the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.
Between 1936 and 1946, she sang with the Southern Harp Spiritual Singers.
Linda relocated to California during the early 1950s, and changed her name to Linda Hopkins.
She toured and recorded for several record labels, including Atco, RCA, Brunswick and Columbia.
In 1960, she toured Europe in the production ‘Broadway Express’, and recorded her only hit single, ‘Shake a Hand’ with Jackie Wilson.
In the Seventies she performed with Sammy Davis Jr. on Broadway in the musical ‘Purlie’.
She won a Tony Award in 1972 for her performance in the musical ‘Inner City’.
In 1977, She performed at President Jimmy Carter's inaugural ball.
Linda received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005.
b. Brian Matthew, 17th September 1928, Coventry, Warwickshire, England
d. 8th April 2017, England
U.K. radio deejay, Brian Matthew has died. Brian was 88.
He introduced some of the best British acts to the listening public. He can be heard on several BBC recording sessions featuring the Beatles.
Brian, also, introduced some of the finest U.S. R&B based artists to a wider U.K. audience, including The Ronettes, Brenda Lee, and The Supremes.
For many years, Brian presented the ‘Sounds Of The Sixties’ radio show on the BBC every Saturday morning.
In January 2017, the BBC announced that Brian would not return to the programme because of ‘ill health’.
When asked about his failing health, Brian stated:
‘That's absolute balderdash. I was ready and willing and able to go back, and they’ve just said they are going to put the programme in the hands of other people’.
An e-petition was signed by thousands of listeners demanding his return.
The BBC allowed a final show on Saturday the 25th February 2017, after which the show was placed in the hands of the DJ Tony Blackburn.
b. Brenda Elaine Jones Williams, 7th December 1954, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 3rd April 2017, Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.
Brenda Jones, of the female Soul group, the Jones Girls, has died. She was 62.
Brenda’s sister, Shirley Jones, said her sister was hit by several cars whilst attempting to cross the street.
She was visiting her daughter in Wilmington, Delaware.
Police are still investigating the incident.
Apart from her sessions with her sisters (in the Jones Girls), Brenda collaborated with many other R&B artists, including Isaac Hayes, Ben E. King, Peabo Bryson, Dexter Wansel, McFadden & Whitehead, Teddy Pendergrass, along with the whole Philadelphia International roster of artists..
Brenda Jones leaves behind two daughters and a granddaughter.
Her memorial will be held in The Jones Girls’ hometown of Detroit.
b. Lee Baker, Jr., 18th December 1933, Dubuisson, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 1st April 2017, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
The Blues singer and songwriter, Lonnie Brooks, has died. Lonnie was 83.
Born in Dubuisson, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, Lonnie began his solo career under the name of Guitar Jr.
He signed to the Goldband label, releasing ‘Family Rules’, ‘Made in the Shade’ and ‘The Crawl’.
In 1960, he relocated to Chicago, Illinois, where he cahnged his name to Lonnie Brooks.
Lonnie recorded singles for several labels, including Chess, Chirrup, Mercury, Midas and USA Records.
In 1969, he recorded his first album called ‘Broke an’ Hungry’, for Capitol Records.
In 1974 he released ‘Sweet Home Chicago’, for the Black & Blue imprint.
Lonnie recorded for Alligator Records, releasing seven albums.
He appeared in the films ‘Blues Brothers 2000’ and ‘The Express’ and in two U.K. based television commercials for Heineken.
b. Arthur Murray Blythe, 5th July 1940, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 27th March 2017, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The composer and jazz saxophonist, Arthur Blythe, has died. Arthur was 76.
He was suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
During his career, Arthur was also employed as a security guard, amongst other trades.
Musically, he collaborated with the likes of Chico Hamilton, Gil Evans' Orchestra, Lester Bowie, Jack DeJohnette, and McCoy Tyner.
He released his debut album ‘The Grip’ in 1977 for the India Navigation imprint.
Arthur went on to record for many labels, including CBS, Adelphi, Enja, Jazz House, Red Baron, In & Out, AudioQuest, Konnex, Contemporary and Savant imprints.
b. Clem Curtis, 28th November 1940, Trinidad, West Indies.
d. 27th March 2017, Olney, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom.
Lead singer from the group the Foundations, Clem Curtis, has died. Clem was 76.
He had recently been diagnosed with two terminal cancers.
Clem was born in Trinidad.
He travelled to England and became an interior decorator.
Clem was a boxer for a while, winning many fights as a professional.
In 1967 Clem joined The Ramong Sound (which featured Raymond Morrison, Clem’s uncle).
The group featured Arthur Brown, for a short period, after which the group changed their name to the Foundations.
After several hits, Clem left the group and went on to pursue a solo career in the United States.
He later rejoined a reformed a version of The Foundations, teaming up with the original Foundations guitarist Alan Warner.
In 2004 he toured the U.K. as part of a group tour with Jimmy James & The Vagabonds.
Clem continued and perform until very recently.
b. Roger W. Hill, 13th February 1927, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
d. 20th March 2017, Greenbelt, Maryland, U.S.A.
The American jazz tenor and soprano saxophonist, Buck Hill, has died. Buck was 90.
Born in Washington D.C., Buck began his working career as a mail man (which kept him occupied for some 30 years or so).
He went on to play the saxophone, around 1943.
Between 1958 and 1959 he played with Charlie Byrd.
In 1973, he recorded with the trumpeter Allan Houser.
Since the Seventies, he performed as part the Buck Hill Quartet, releasing 4 albums, between 1978 and 1983, for Steeplechase Records.
The Quartet featured (at various times) Billy Hart, Buster Williams, Kenny Barron, Reuben Brown, Wilbur Little and Buck himself.
In 1982, he released ‘Plays Europe’ for the Turning Point Records imprint.
He released ‘Capital Hill’ for Muse Records in 1990.
b. Charles Edward Anderson Berry, 18th October 1926, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
d. 18th March 2017, St. Charles, Missouri, U.S.A.
Chuck Berry has died. Chuck was 90.
One of the pioneers of rock and roll music, police in St. Charles County, Missouri, were called to Chuck’s house, where he was unresponsive.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
robert 'p-nut' johnson
b. Robert Johnson, (a.k.a. Robert ‘P-Nut’ Johnson), 17th October 1947, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
d. 12th March 2017, Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.A.
The vocalist from the group’s Bootsy's Rubber Band, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, P-Funk All Stars and Sweat Band, Robert ‘P-Nut’ Johnson, has died. Robert was 70.
No cause of death has not been made available at this time.
Born in 1947, Robert originally performed in bands in the Baltimore area.
In 1976, he was recruited into Bootsy’s Rubber Band.
Bootsy Collins ceased touring in 1979 and Robert joined the George Clinton/P Funk Universe group permanently.
b. James Henry Cotton, 1st July 1935, Tunica, Mississippi, U.S.A.
d. 16th March 2017, Austin, Texas, U.S.A.
The Blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter, James Cotton has died. He was 81.
James died at a medical center in Austin, Texas from pneumonia.
Born in Mississippi, James recorded for the Sun Records imprint.
He formed the James Cotton Band in 1966, and went on to collaborate with the likes of Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, B.B. King, Santana, Steve Miller, Dr. John, Todd Rundgren, David Sanborn and Freddie King.
In the Seventies, he recorded for Buddha and Capitol Records.
During the Eighties, James recorded for Alligator Records, and won the Best Traditional Blues Album Grammy for his Deep in the Blues LP in 1997.
James received six Living Blues Awards in his lifetime and 10 Blues Music Awards.
b. Carl Lomax Kidd, 18th August 1941, West Virginia, U.S.A.
d. 13th March 2017, Chevy Chase, Maryland, U.S.A.
The Washington D.C. based producer and promoter, Maxx Kidd, has died. Max was 75.
He passed away from ‘a variety of health complications’, according to surviving family members.
Maxx helped pioneer the C.C. based Go-Go Sound during the late 1970s.
As a producer, Maxx worked for Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom Records, where he collaborated with several artists, including Jerry Butler and Gene Chandler.
He set up his own record company, entitled, T.T.E.D. Records, and was a member of the group’s Redds And The Boys (along with Anthony ‘Redds’ Williams, Carl Jones and Eric Thorngren) and The Enjoyables.
Maxx produced Chuck Brown’s Go Go anthem, ‘We Need Some Money’, and worked with the group’s Trouble Funk and E.U. (Experience Unlimited).
Maxx, in his capacity as a promoter, worked with the likes of O’Jays, the Temptations, Lou Rawls, Van McCoy, Johnnie Taylor and Shalamar.
He was also a founder of the Black Music Association (BMA).
Maxx is survived by five daughters (Jacqueline McCoy, Yvette 'Evie' Kidd, Sabrina Kidd, Joy Kidd, Corie Kidd) and one son (Victor Kidd), along with several grandchildren.
b. Thomas LiPuma, 5th July 1936, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 13th March 2017, New York, New York, U.S.A.
The Record Producer, Tommy LiPuma, has died. Tommy was 80.
During his production career, Tommy has collaborated with the likes of Miles Davis, George Benson, Phil Upchurch, Al Jarreau, Anita Baker, Natalie Cole, Michael Franks, Ben Sidran, The Crusaders and Randy Crawford.
From Cleveland, Ohio, Tommy worked for A&M Records, Blue Thumb Records and Verve Records.
He provided inspiration for others to follow, including John Snyder, Arnaldo DeSouteiro and Larry Rosen.
b. Joan Elise Sledge, 13th September 1956, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)
d. 10th March 2017, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.
Founding member of the American musical group, Sister Sledge, Joni Sledge, has died.
Joni was 60.
A statement from Sister Sledge reads:
'The medical examiner and Joni's personal physician determined on 10th March 2017, that her death was due to natural causes which arose from complications from a pre-existing condition.
Please continue to respect the family’s request for peaceful privacy during this very difficult time. Thank you & God Bless You!'
Sister Sledge were formed in 1971, in Philadelphia.
The group comprised of four sisters Debbie, Joni, Kim and Kathy Sledge.
Sister Sledge achieved several international hits, which included, ‘Mama Never Told Me’ (in 1975), ‘He’s the Greatest Dancer’ (in 1979), ‘We Are Family’ (in 1979) and ‘Lost In Music’.
Photographer: Camilla Camaglia
b. David Joseph Valentin, 29th April 1952, South Bronx, New York, U.S.A.
d. 8th March 2017, The Bronx, New York, U.S.A.
The jazz flautist, Dave Valentin, has died. Dave was 64.
He passed away from complications of a stroke and Parkinson's disease.
Dave learned percussion at an early age, going on to teach himself to play the flute.
He, later, took lessons from Hubert Laws.
During the Seventies, Dave signed to GRP Records.
He released his debut album with Ricardo Marrero in 1977.
Dave collaborated with many musicians throughout his career, including, Noel Pointer, Patti Austin, Lee Ritenour, Chris Connor, David Benoit and Eliane Elias.
In 2012, he suffered a stroke which left him partially paralyzed.
In 2015, David suffered a second stroke.
b. Leon Ware, 16th February 1940, Black Bottom, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 23rd February 2017, Marina del Rey, California, U.S.A.
The singer and songwriter, Leon Ware has died. Leon was 77. He passed away a week after his 77th birthday.
Leon passed away in Marina del Rey, California.
His wife, Carol, said the cause was complications of prostate cancer.
Leon was previously married to Susaye Green.
In addition to his wife, Carol, Leon is survived by his sons, Mark and Leon, a granddaughter, Zaria, and two brothers, Robert and Bernard.
A daughter, Laura, died in 2003.
At the time of his passing, Leon was working on a new album, entitled ‘Rainbow Deux’.
b. Larry Coryell, 2nd April 1943, Galveston, Texas, U.S.A.
d. 19th February 2017, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
The Fusion guitarist, Larry Coryell has died. Larry was 73.
He passed away in his sleep from natural causes.
Larry had performed two shows at the weekend at New York's Iridium Jazz Club.
During the Seventies, Larry was part of the fusion band The Eleventh House.
Throughout his career he worked with many of the major Jazz artists, including Miles Davis, Gary Burton, Alphonse Mouzon, Ron Carter and Chet Baker.
Larry had been planning an extensive 2017 summer tour with a reformed The Eleventh House.
Born in Galveston, Texas in 1943, Larry grew up near Seattle.
He studied journalism at The University of Washington whilst learning the guitar.
Larry played on Chico Hamilton's album ‘The Dealer’.
He formed the psychedelic band The Free Spirits, moving on to release two solo albums.
Larry’s later album, ‘Spaces’, was released in 1969.
The album has been considered the beginning of the 1970s' fusion jazz movement.
Larry is survived by his wife, Tracey, four children and six grandchildren.
b. Clyde Stubblefield, 18th April 1943, Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.A.
The drummer, Clyde Stubblefield (famous for his groundbreaking work with James Brown, has died. Clyde was 73.
He passed away from kidney failure (he had been suffering from kidney disease since 2002).
Clyde’s drumming can be heard on several of the most famous James Brown recordings, including ‘Cold Sweat’, ‘There Was a Time’, ‘Say It Loud, I’m Black and I'm Proud’, ‘Mother Popcorn’ and ‘Sex Machine’.
His most famous drum riff featured on the James Brown track ‘Funky Drummer’, which is believed to be the world's most sampled record.
Clyde also played drums for, the late, Otis Redding, Marva Whitney, Ben Sidran, Pee Wee Ellis, Bobby Byrd, Phil Upchurch and Public Enemy.
barbara carroll with dizzy gillespie
b. Barbara Carole Coppersmith, 25th January 1925, Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
d. 11th February 2017, Cornell Medical Center, New York, New York State, U.S.A.
The jazz pianist, Barbara Carroll, has died. Barbara was 92.
She will be fondly remembered by the emerging Acid Jazz scene of the late Seventies and early Eighties, for her instrumental track ‘From The Beginning’ (taken from the United Artists album of the same name).
from the beginning - united artists 1977
The track became a cult dance-floor hit over that era, with the album becoming a highly collectable item amongst Jazz and Fusion fans alike.
Barbara hailed from Worcester, Massachusetts.
She was classically trained as a child, later attending the New England Conservatory of Music.
Her Jazz trio worked with Benny Goodman.
Barbara released her, self-titled, debut album in 1952, and continued to release records up until 2013.
In 1975 she worked with Rita Coolidge, before signing to United Artists for her ‘From The Beginning’ album in 1977.
In 1978 she toured with Rita and Kris Kristofferson, before touring on the concert circuit during her later career.
b. Alwin Lopez Jarreau, 12th March 1940, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
d. 12th February 2017, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, U.S.A.
The Soul and Jazz vocalist, Al Jarreau, has died. Al was 76.
He had recently been hospitalized in Los Angeles, as a result of exhaustion.
In 2010, he had become critically ill at a hospital in France, and was treated for respiratory problems and cardiac arrhythmias.
Al was then moved to a cardiology unit of La Timone hospital in Marseille
In 2012, Al was then diagnosed with pneumonia, from which he recovered, and began touring again.
b. David Axelrod, 17th April 1933, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 5th February 2017, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The songwriter, producer and arranger, David Axelrod, has died. David was 83.
He died from complications relating to a brain aneurysm.
David became an in-demand producer, during the Sixties, for several jazz and R&B artists.
During 1963, he joined Capitol Records as a producer, working with the labels roster of Black artists.
He worked with Lou Rawls, producing several gold albums and hit singles including, his own songs, ‘Love Is a Hurtin' Thing’, and ‘Dead End Street’.
David also worked with Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley, producing his 1967 album ‘Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! Live at 'The Club', which featured the hugely successful, Joe Zawinul penned, ‘Mercy, Mercy, Mercy’.
He also collaborated with the likes of Earl Palmer, Jimmy Witherspoon, H.B. Barnum, Willie Tee, Funk Inc., Joe Williams, Betty Everett, Weather Report and Letta Mbulu, and also worked with the Man From U.N.C.L.E. actor, David McCallum.
David’s work has been sampled by many of the newer generation of R&B artists, including D.J. Shadow, Madlib, The Beatnuts and Lauryn Hill.
He recorded as a solo artist from 1968 onwards, and was a boxer in his youth.
David recently had signed to Blue Note Records.
b. Robert Thomas Freeman, 13th June 1940, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
d. 28th January 2017, Anson, Texas, U.S.A.
The Record producer, Songwriter, Soul and R&B singer, Bobby Freeman, has died. Bobby was 76.
His death was confirmed by someone who had recently been in touch with the singer.
Details on the cause of death have not been revealed.
He is, probably, best well known for the self penned 1958 Top Ten hit ‘Do You Want to Dance’.
Further success followed in 1964, with another Top Ten hit, with the Sylvester Stewart penned dance-craze hit, ‘C’mon and Swim’ (which reached number 5).
Bobby began his recording career at age of 14 with the group The Romancers.
The group signed to Dootone Records, they recorded two singles.
He then formed a group called the Vocaleers, and then went on to record ‘Do You Wanna Dance’ b/w ‘Big Fat Woman’, which climbed the Billboard singles chart, reaching number 5.
The song was later covered by Cliff Richard, in the U.K.
Bobby went on to record with several imprints, including Autumn, Josie, Loma and King Records.
b. Walter B. Morrison Jnr., 1954, Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 21st January 2017, London, City of London, Greater London, England.
Junie Morrison, of the group the Ohio Players, has died. Junie was 62.
Walter died on the 21st of January 2017.
Details surrounding his death have not yet been made public.
Walter played keyboards for the group’s Funkadelic and the Ohio Players.
With the group Funkadelic, Walter co-wrote ‘One Nation Under a Groove’, which reached Number 28 on the Hot 100.
Walter was born in 1954 in Dayton, Ohio and made his debut on the Ohio Players album ‘Pain’ in 1972.
The follow up album ‘Pleasure’, featured ‘Funky Worm’.
He recorded a further album, ‘Ecstasy’, in 1973.
He then left the group and released three solo albums between 1975 and 1976 under the name ‘Junie’.
Walter joined Parliament and Funkadelic becoming musical director for the latter.
In 1997, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Funkadelic.
b. Ronald Mundy (a.k.a. Ronald 'Bingo' Mundy), 20th April 1940, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 20th January 2017, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
The vocalist and member of doo-wop group The Marcels, Ronald Mundy, has died. Ronald was 76.
He passed away from pneumonia at the Allegheny General Hospital.
As a member of the Marcels, the group were made famous by their evergreen melody ‘Blue Moon’.
The Marcels formed in 1959 whilst students at Allegheny High School.
A demo tape sent to Colpix Records took them to New York’s RCA Studios in 1961, where they recorded their version of the Rodgers and Hart classic ‘Blue Moon’.
They went on to reach No. 7 with ‘Heartaches’ and No. 24 with the classic ‘Summertime’.
Ronald left the group at the end of 1961.
He is survived by wife: Janet, daughter: Sharon, son: Ronnie, brothers: William and Ramon, and two grandchildren.
b. Marvell Thomas, 22nd August 1941, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.
d. 23rd January 2017, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.
The keyboardist, songwriter, arranger and producer, Marvell Thomas, has died. Marvell was 75.
Marvell was the son of Rufus Thomas and the brother of Carla Thomas and Vaneese Thomas.
He will be best remembered for his contribution to Memphis Soul, and was sometimes called ‘Memphis's other King’ (the first being his father, Rufus Thomas).
Carla Thomas is well known for her work with the late Otis Redding, and for her chart hit ‘Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes)’.
Marvell was one of the first piano players to work at Stax Records.
His performances can be heard on recordings by the likes of The Triumphs, Wilson Pickett, William Bell, Clarence Carter, Eddie Hinton, Johnnie Taylor, The Staple Singers, Little Milton, The Emotions, Albert King, Mavis Staples, Yvonne Elliman, Etta James, Denise LaSalle, along with sides by his family members, Rufus and Carla Thomas.
Marvell co-produced and played keyboards on the Isaac Hayes album, ‘Hot Buttered Soul’.
rufus, carla, vaneese and marvell thomas
b. Tommy Lee Tate, 29th September 1945, Homestead, Florida, U.S.A.
d. 20th January 2017, Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.A.
The Soul, R&B, drummer, singer & songwriter, Tommy Tate, has died. Tommy was 71.
Tommy recorded three albums for the Malaco, Juana and Urgent! imprints.
These were ‘Hold On’ (in 1979), ‘Tommy Tate’ (in 1981) and ‘Love Me Now’ (in 1990).
His debut 45, ‘Ordinarily’ b/w ‘’What’s The Matter’ was released in 1965 on ABC Records.
Tommy also sang in the group’s, Tommy & The Derby's (line-up: Tommy Tate, Dorothy Moore, Cliff Thomas, Ed Thomas, Patsy McKewn and Rosemary Taylor), The Turrabull Brothers, Tim Whittset and The Imperial Showband featuring Tommy Tate.
In 1970, he had joined the groups The Nightingales and (later) Southern Passion.
His, Frederick Knight produced, self titled, 1981 album was re-issued on Timeless Records in 1987, and featured Tommy’s take on the Joe Shamwell original, ‘Listen To The Children’ (also recorded by the Controllers in 1978).
b. William Onyeabor, 26th March 1946, Enugu, Nigeria.
d. 16th January 2017, Enugu, Nigeria
William Onyeabor passed away at his home in Nigeria on the 16th of January 2017. William was 70.
His passing was announced by Onyeabor’s record label, Luaka Bop.
Luaka Bop was founded by David Byrne, the former Talking Heads lead singer.
William died peacefully in his sleep following a brief illness, at his home.
During his recording career, William achieved a number of hit songs in Nigeria during the 1970's, the biggest of which was ‘Atomic Bomb’ in 1978.
Previously, he had studied cinematography in Russia.
William returned to Nigeria in the mid-1970's to start his own Wilfilms Records music imprint.
He also created a music and film production studio called Wilfilms (Recording Studios) Ltd.
William composed and self-released 9 electronic-funk album between 1977 and 1985.
b. Richard Ingui, 15th November 1947, Manhattan, New York, U.S.A.
d. 13th January 2017, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Richie Ingui, one of the founding members of the group, The Soul Survivors, has died. Richie was 70.
The causes of his passing have not yet been confirmed.
The Soul Survivors recorded the 1967 top 5 hit ‘Expressway to Your Heart’.
The song helped launch the careers of Philadelphia International Records producersand songwriters, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.
The group were formed in New York City in 1965 by Richie and his brother Charlie Ingui, along with Kenny Jeremiah.
The Soul Survivors were originally known as the Dedications, a group formed in 1962.
‘Expressway’ went on to reach number 4 on the Billboard listings.
The single remained on the singles chart for 15 weeks total.
The group went on to perform with the likes of Jackie Wilson, The Miracles, Sam and Dave, Janis Joplin, the Beach Boys and Sly and the Family Stone.
The Soul Survivors went their separate ways in 1970, Charlie and Richie performed in other groups, as well as singing in a reformed version of the Soul Survivors.
Richie worked as a painter and decorator for a while, after the groups separation.
In 2013, The Soul Survivors were honored by Philadelphia International Records with the annual Phillies Gamble & Huff Community Partnership Award at Citizens Bank Park.
b. Sylvester Potts, 1938, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 6th January 2017, Detroit Hospital, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
The Soul singer, Sylvester Potts, has died. Sylvester was 78.
Sylvester was a vocalist in the group The Contours for over 50 years.
He had recently been performing with the group, under the name Sylvester Potts and the Contours.
Sylvester joined the group in 1961.
...those who left us in 2016...