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Archive for the ‘R&B’ Category

RIP, Al Jarreau (February 12, 2017) American Jazz Singer

Posted by themusicsover on February 12, 2017

Al Jarreau
March 12, 1940 – February 12, 2017

Al Jarreau was an internationally renowned jazz vocalist who, over the course of his career, earned seven Grammy’s while garnering over a dozen more nominations.  To this day, he’s the only vocalist to win a Grammy in three different categories – in his case, jazz, pop and R&B.  Born in Milwaukee, Jarreau spent much of youth singing at local church and school events.  He continued singing through high school and college where he performed with jazz trio which included George Duke.  By  the early ’70s, Jarreau was performing at top clubs in Los Angeles as well as  on TV shows like The Dinah Shore Show, The Mike Douglas Show, The Merv Griffin Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.  He signed with Warner Bros. Records in 1975 and went on to release 16 studio albums and several more live and compilation albums.  His debut, 1975’s We Got By was released to critical acclaim, and introduced him to new fans the world over.  1981 found Jarreau releasing what would become his best-selling album, Breakin’ Away.  Jarreau continued to record and tour through much of the rest of his life.  On February 8th, 2017, he cancelled his current tour and was hospitalized for exhaustion.  Four days later, February 12th, Al Jarreau, passed away at the hospital surrounded by this family and friends. He was 76. Cause of death was not immediately released.

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RIP, Colonel Abrams (November 24, 2016) House Music Pioneer

Posted by themusicsover on November 24, 2016

Colonel Abrams
May 25, 1949 – November 24, 2016

colonel-abramsColonel Abrams was an American R&B singer who launched his career in 1976 and rose to fame during the mid-’80s.  His biggest hit was 1985’s “Trapped,” which cracked the Top 5 in the UK and topped the US Dance single charts. A follow-up single, “I’m Not Gonna Let You” charted on several dance and R&B charts and further helped lay the foundation of House Music.  Abrams’ self-titled debut ultimately reached #75 on the Billboard Top 200, as well as #13 on their R&B Album chart. He went on to release three more albums over the next decade along with several more club and dance hit singles. In 2007 and 2008, Abrams released a handful of new singles on his own Colonel Records.  In more recent years, he could be  seen performing at ’80s revival shows.  Sadly, it has been reported that Abrams was homeless and living in poor health as recently as 2015.  Colonel Abrams was 67 when he passed away on November 24, 2016.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus for the assist.

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RIP, Sharon Jones (November 18, 2016) Soul Great

Posted by themusicsover on November 18, 2016

Sharon Jones
May 4, 1956 – November 18, 2016

Photo by kallerna

Photo by kallerna

Born in North Augusta, South Carolina, but raised in New York City, Sharon Jones was a soul singer whose talent was out-shined only by her performances in front of a crowd.  As a child, Jones often mimicked one of her idols, James Brown, and as an adult, it often appeared she was raising his spirit to join her on stage.  During her early years as a performer, Jones sang in gospel and funk groups and while entering talent contests around New York City.  In 2002, Jones released the inaugural album on the Daptone Records, Dap-Dipping with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, with the label’s house band, the Dap-Kings now in place as her permanent back up. Over the better part the next 14 years, Jones played in front of ecstatic crowds around the world, and released five more albums that many credit as having launched the current soul and funk revival.  In June of 2013, it was announced that she was suffering from bile duct cancer which was later re-diagnosed as stage II pancreatic cancer.  It hardly slowed Jones down however, she released what would become her two final albums, and performed to adoring fans at times, bald from her chemotherapy.  In 2015, the documentary,  Miss Sharon Jones! was released to critical acclaim.  It was at one of the initial screenings, that Jones announced that the cancer had returned.  It ultimately  took her life.  Sharon Jones was 60 when she passed away on November 18, 2016.

 

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RIP, Leon Russell (November 13, 2016) Legendary Musician, Songwriter & Producer

Posted by themusicsover on November 13, 2016

Leon Russell (Born Claude Russell Bridges)
April 2, 1942 – November 13, 2016

Photo by Carl Lender

Photo by Carl Lender

Leon Russell was a celebrated musician, singer, songwriter and producer whose early work as a session player alone was enough to rightfully find him a home in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Add to that his credits as a songwriter, and you have one of the most respected artists we have ever known.  Born in Oklahoma, Russell began playing the piano at just four years old.  By high school, he and schoolmate David Gates, of future Bread fame, had a band together. Over the next couple of years Russell needed a fake ID to play the clubs of Tulsa. And then, at just 16 years old, he headed to Los Angeles to take a crack at becoming a session musician. Russell quickly built a solid reputation and became one of the first people called into the studio or on stage to lend his talents.  The list of artists or their producers that mad that call is staggering – it includes the Byrds, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, B.B. King, the Rolling Stones, Barbra Streisand, and the Beach Boys.  And as part of the famed Wrecking Crew of L.A. studio musicians, the list goes on. Russel’s first hit as a songwriter came by way of Joe Cocker‘s 1969 recording of his “Delta Lady.”  As the ’70s dawned, Russell began making his own albums while producing others.  And thanks in part to the success of “Delta Lady,” he became a go-to songwriter for hopeful pop and rock stars.  In 1970, he released his self-titled debut. The album spawned one of his most famous songs, “A Song For You” which has been covered by a diverse list of artists that includes Ray Charles, Zakk Wylde, Andy Williams, Herbie Hancock with Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston, Willie Nelson, and Amy Winehouse. Russell spent the rest of the ’70s on a seemingly endless recording and touring cycle. He eventually slowed down, but became no less productive and influential.  The next three decades found him working with the likes of New Grass Revival and Bruce Hornsby while releasing several more of his own albums which leaned more bluegrass and country than much of his ’70s output. In 2010, Elton John (who called Russell his biggest influence as a pianist, singer and songwriter) and Bernie Taupin partnered with Russell on The Union, which resulted in a return-to-the-charts for both. The outstanding album, produced by T-Bone Burnett, and credited equally to both John and Taupin, entered the Billboard charts at No. 3, Russell’s highest charting album since 1972 and John’s highest since 1976.  Rolling Stone called it one of the best 30 albums of 2010.  The new-found exposure for Russell found him touring heavily up through the first half of 2016 when a heart attack sidelined him. Not discouraged, plans were being made to hit the road again in 2017.  Unfortunately, while still recovering from the heart attack, Leon Russell died quietly in his sleep on November 14, 2016.  He was 74.

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Posted in Country, Musician, Producer, R&B, Record Label, Rock, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

RIP, Prince (April 21, 2016) Genius

Posted by themusicsover on April 21, 2016

Prince Rogers Nelson
June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016

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Photo by David Plastik – Click To Order Quality Prints – Discount code: 10OFF

Prince was his given name, and that’s all he needed to become one of the most well-known, influential, innovative and gifted musicians, songwriters, singers, producers, and performers pop music has ever known.  Born and raised in the Minneapolis area, Prince would eventually come to represent what was known as the Minneapolis sound – a marriage of funk, rock, synth pop, new wave, and dance.  He released his first album, For You, in 1978 and what followed was an astonishing run of 39 albums over the course of 35 years.  Some double, and even triple, albums.  But it was 1984’s soundtrack to his film, Purple Rain, that first sent Prince into the stratosphere. It was his first album to top the Billboard album charts and went on to sell a staggering 13 million in the US alone. Purple Rain is often regarded as one of the top five greatest albums ever made – of any genre.  He was far from done though, as he went on to be recognized with 32 Grammy nominations, winning seven throughout his career.  In  all, Prince scored four #1 albums in the US, and an additional 12 landed in the Top 10.  As a performer, there were very few who could match him when it came to captivating his audiences.  That was put on international display when he did the Super Bowl Halftime show in 2007.  As torrential rains hammered the stage like no other time in Super Bowl history, Prince took the storm and made it his stage prop to gloriously add an exclamation point to his final song, “Purple Rain.”  Rumor has it that when the show’s director asked out of concern what they should do to protect him, the band, and the dancers from being electrocuted, Prince replied, “can you make it rain harder?”   Since 2014, Prince released four new albums, and legend has it that he has enough finished material in his vault to keep releases coming for years if not decades to come.  Whether they will ever see the light of day is debatable.  On April 21, 2016, Prince was found unconscious in an elevator within his studio complex, Paisley Park.  Attempts to revive him failed and he was pronounced dead on the scene.  He was just 57.  Cause of death was not immediately known, but foul play or suicide were not initially suspected.

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Posted in Funk, Gospel, Musician, Pop, R&B, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: | 1 Comment »