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RIP, James Cotton (March 16, 2017) Blues Great

Posted by themusicsover on March 16, 2017

James Cotton
July 1, 1935 – March 16, 2017

Photo: Brian McMillen / brianmcmillenphotography.com

According to a press release from Alligator Records, world-renowned blues harmonica master James Cotton, whom Rolling Stone called, “One of the greats of all time, burning with brilliant virtuosity,” died on March 16, 2017 of pneumonia at St. David’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas. He was 81. His overwhelmingly powerful harmonica playing was one of the iconic sounds of the blues. He toured worldwide for over 60 years.

Born on a cotton plantation in Tunica, Mississippi on July 1, 1935, Cotton was a working musician by age nine. He learned harmonica directly from Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller), toured with Williamson and Howlin’ Wolf, and recorded for Sun Records in 1953 before spending 12 years touring and recording with Muddy Waters (starting at age 20). Cotton was featured on Muddy’s famous 1960 At Newport LP on Chess Records, including the iconic version of Got My Mojo Working, one of the classic recordings of Chicago Blues.

After his 1953 Sun sessions, Cotton didn’t record under his own name again until the mid-1960s, with tracks included in the groundbreaking Chicago/The Blues/Today! series of LPs on Vanguard. Along with Otis Spann, he cut The Blues Never Die! for Prestige.

In 1966 he formed The James Cotton Band, quickly earning a reputation as one of the most commanding and potent live blues performers in the world—a man who could literally suck the reeds out of his harmonica from the pure force of his playing. He made his initial solo albums, three for Verve and one for Vanguard, in the late 1960s.

Cotton’s blistering talent and full-throttle energy kept him in demand at concert halls all over the country. He played the Fillmore East in New York, the Fillmore West in San Francisco and every major rock and blues venue in between. During the 1970s, he cut three albums for Buddah and one for Capitol.

Cotton signed with Alligator Records in 1984, releasing two solo albums and the famed Harp Attack! with Junior Wells, Carey Bell and Billy Branch. He won a Grammy Award in 1996 for his Verve album, Deep In The Blues and recorded four albums for Telarc Records before returning to Alligator in 2010. His most recent recording was 2013’s Grammy-nominated Cotton Mouth Man.

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RIP, Joey Alves (March 12, 2017) Former Guitarist for Y&T

Posted by themusicsover on March 12, 2017

Joey Alves
DOB Unknown – March 12, 2017

Joey Alves on left. Photo by David Plastik – Click To Order Quality Prints – Discount code: 10OFF

Joey Alves was the rhythm guitarist for Y&T from 1974 through 1989 – the period in which the band saw its most success.  Formed in 1974 as Yesterday and Today, the band eventually shortened its name to Y&T and went on to sell millions of albums over the next two decades.  1984’s In Rock We Trust became their biggest selling album, while 1985’s “Summertime Girls,” their signature song.  They are one of the few hard rock bands that survived disco, new wave, and grunge.  Joey Alves was 63 when he passed away on March 12, 2017.  He was reportedly suffering from ulcerative colitis which lead to his death.

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Joey Alves on right. Photo by David Plastik – Click To Order Quality Prints – Discount code: 10OFF

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RIP, Leon Ware (February 23, 2017) Successful R&B Songwriter & Producer

Posted by themusicsover on February 23, 2017

Leon Ware
February 16, 1940 – February 23, 2017

Photo by David Corio. Source: rollingstone.com

Leon Ware was an American singer, songwriter and producer who was celebrated for the many hits he crafted for others.  Born in Detroit, Ware began writing professionally in 1967.  Later that year, the first recording note of a song he co-wrote was released; “Got To Have You Back,” by the Isley Brothers.  A couple of years later, he hooked up with Ike & Tina Turner to co-write six songs on their album,  Nuff Said.  What followed was nearly four decades of hit songs for the likes of Michael Jackson, Minnie Riperton, Quincy Jones, and Marvin Gaye.  In Gaye’s case, every song on his I Want You album was penned or co-penned by Ware who also produced the landmark album. It sold over a million copies and is considered a must-have for any album collection.  Ware also recorded nearly a dozen albums of his own, the most successful being 1979’s Inside Is Love, and the most recent, 2008’s Moon Ride.  Leon Ware was 77 when he died of prostate cancer on February 23, 2017.

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RIP, Larry Coryell (February 19, 2017) The Godfather of Fusion

Posted by themusicsover on February 19, 2017

Larry Coryell
April 2, 1943 – February 19, 2017

Larry Coryell was a ground-breaking guitarist who has been credited as being a pioneer, if not THE pioneer of jazz rock fusion.  Born in Galveston, TX, Coryell was living in Washington state by the time he was in high school, and it was in and around the Yakima area where he began playing in bands after graduating.  During the  fall of 1965, Coryell moved to New York City where he played  and recorded with Chico Hamilton, and not long later, recorded and performed with Gary Burton.  As the ’70s dawned, Coryell was combining the sounds of jazz, rock, and eastern music to make a style of music most had never heard before.  He released his first album, Lady Coryell,  in 1968, and what followed was nearly 50 years of recordings that have influenced several generations of guitarists – both rock and jazz. His recordings have also been very popular with hip-hop producers and can be heard through samples on recordings by J Dilla, Jurassic 5, and DJ Shadow, to name a few. Over the course of his career, he played on over 100 albums and continued to make his own music and tour up until  the time of his death.  Larry Coryell was 73 when he passed away in his sleep on February 20, 2017, reportedly of natural causes.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus for the assist.

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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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