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Posts Tagged ‘Frank Zappa’

Died On This Date (August 5, 2013) George Duke / Highly Regarded Jazz & Pop Musician

Posted by themusicsover on August 5, 2013

George Duke
January 12, 1946 – August 5. 2013

george-dukeGeorge Duke was a highly regarded jazz musician, singer, composer and producer who successful crossed over to R&B and pop throughout the years.  Born and raised in the San Francisco area, Duke began picking up various instruments at an early age.  He received a Bachelor’s Degree in trombone and composition while Minoring in the contrabass.  He later went on the earn a Master’s in composition.  Armed with these credentials, Duke kicked his music career into high gear upon graduating from college.  It was during the mid ’60s that he started dabbling in what would become known as jazz fusion and more avant-garde styles.  Over the course of his career, he released nearly 50 albums which oftentimes touched on funk, R&B, Latin jazz, and most notably, jazz fusion, the style he helped create the blueprint for.  As a collaborator, the list of artists he worked with reads like a pop music encyclopedia. It includes Jean-Luc Ponty, Michael Jackson, Miles Davis, his cousin Dianne Reeves, George Clinton, Cannonball Adderley, Anita Baker, and most consistently, Frank Zappa for whom he played on over a dozen albums.  In 1988, Duke served as the musical director at the Nelson Mandela tribute concert at Wembley Stadium in London.  In recent years, his music was sampled by Daft Punk, Common, Mylo, and many more.  In July of 2013, he released DreamWeaver as a tribute to his wife who passed away in 2012.  George Duke was 67 when he passed away on August 5, 2013.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

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Died On This Date (January 10, 2013) Claude Nobs / Founder Of The Montreux Jazz Festival

Posted by themusicsover on January 10, 2013

Claude Nobs
February 4, 1936 – January 10, 2013

Photo by Lionel Flusin

Photo by Lionel Flusin

Claude Nobs will be fondly remembered as the man who created the historic Montreux Jazz Festival.  Born in the Swiss city that later hosted his annual event, Nobs organized the first installment while working for the Tourism Office of Montreux in 1967.  The inaugural one included sets from the likes of  Jack DeJohnette, Charles Lloyd, and Keith Jarrett.  The festival was quickly recognized as a premier gathering of jazz greats from the world over.  Nobs also made a mark on rock and roll as well.  As it turns out, Nobs was present when the Montreux Casino infamously burned down during a Frank Zappa concert. He heroically rescued several people who were taking cover in the casino. Deep Purple memorialized the event in song which included a lyrical cameo by Nobs – “Funky Claude was running in and out pulling kids out the ground.”  That song is “Smoke on the Water.”   During the ’70s, Nobs worked for the local branch of Warner, Elektra and Atlantic Records.  While the festival expanded to include musical acts beyond the jazz world, it swelled to over 200,000 attendees.  It is considered one of the most prestigious music festivals in the world today.  On December 24, 2012, Claude Nobs suffered a skiing accident that left him in a coma.  He was 76 when he died from those injuries on January 10, 2013.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus at the Bob Dylan Examiner for the assist.


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Died On This Date (December 24, 2012) Ray Collins / Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention

Posted by themusicsover on December 24, 2012

Ray Collins
November 19, 1936 – December 24, 2012

ray-collinsAs a founding member of the Mothers of Invention, Ray Collins played a key role in the history of Frank Zappa.  Having grown up outside of Los Angeles, Collins launched his music career by singing in various doo wop groups in the L.A. area during the late ’50s.  In 1964, Collins formed the Soul Giants, an R&B cover band with Jimmy Carl Black, Ray Hunt, Roy Estrada, and Dave Coronado.  Shortly thereafter, Collins replaced Hunt with Zappa on lead guitar and the band’s name was changed to the Mothers of Invention.  Quickly making a name for themselves within the California underground rock scene, the band, now more-or-less being driven by Zappa, was signed to Verve Records.  Their first album, 1966’s Freak Out!, is widely considered one of rock’s first concept albums.  It proudly sits in the Grammy Hall of Fame and is #246 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Collins sang lead on Freak Out! as well as Absolutely Free and Cruising With Ruben & the Jets.  In 1968, Collins quit the band over creative differences with Zappa and reportedly left the music business entirely.  In later years, he worked as a cab driver in Los Angeles and dish washer in Hawaii.  On December 24, 2012, Ray Collins died following a cardiac arrest he suffered a few days prior.  He was 76.

Thanks to Bruce Kilgour of Slipped Disc Entertainment for the assist.

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Freak Out! - The Mothers of Invention

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Died On This Date (November 7, 2012) Cleve Duncan / The Penguins; Sang “Earth Angel”

Posted by themusicsover on November 7, 2012

Cleve Duncan
 July 23, 1935 – November 7, 2012

Cleve Duncan was a founding member of popular 50’s doo-wop group, the Penguins.  Formed with Curtis Williams, Dexter Tisby, and Bruce Tate while Duncan was still in high school, the group released its first record on Dootone Records in 1954.  The single was “Hey Senorita” with the Duncan-sung “Earth Angel” sitting on its b-side.  But when an unknown disc jockey flipped the 45 over and played “Earth Angel,” the phones lit up and other radio stations soon followed suit.  In the early weeks of 1955, the record hit #1 on the pop charts and stayed there for three weeks.  Years later, Frank Zappa had Duncan reprise the popular chorus on his record, “Memories Of El Monte.”  The Penguins’ only other hit came with “Pledge of Love” in 1957. That record peaked at #15 on the R&B chart.  The group broke up on in 1962, but Duncan continued on with various incarnations well into the 2000s.  The Penguins were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004.  On November 7, 2012, Cleve Duncan, 77, reportedly died unexpectedly while casting his vote in the Presidential Election  Cause of death was not immediately release.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number 1 Albums for the assist.

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The Penguins

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Died On This Date (October 2, 2012) Big Jim Sullivan / Legendary UK Session Guitarist; Played On Over 1000 Charting Singles

Posted by themusicsover on October 2, 2012

Jim Sullivan
February 14, 1941 – October 2, 2012

Big Jim Sullivan was one of the most requested and prolific session guitarists that England ever produced.  Over a career that spanned over 50 years, he played on around 1000 records that charted in the UK, more than 50 reached number one.  Legend has it that he played on upwards of 3000 records a year during the height of his career.  Sullivan was just 14 when he started learning to play the guitar, and in just two years, he was playing professionally.  In 1959, he joined a band called the Wildcats who were backing Marty Wilde at the time.  The following year, the Wildcats backed Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent on the infamous UK tour that ultimately took Cochran’s life.  Over the next two decades, Sullivan became one of the most in-demand guitarists in the business.  He also gave a young Ritchie Blackmore guitar lessons and helped convince Jim Marshall to make his now famous amps.  During this time, Sullivan was one of the earliest to make use of feedback, the fuzzbox and talkbox, which was made into more or less a household name by Peter Frampton on his classic Frampton Comes Alive album of 1976. The short list who employed Sullivan to play on their records is made up of the Kinks, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, Dusty Springfield, Marianne Faithfull, David Bowie, Donovan, and Frank Zappa.  He was also a familiar face playing alongside Tom Jones on his American variety show.  Sullivan also found time to record several albums of his own as well. Big Jim Sullivan was 71 when he passed away on October 2, 2012.  He was reportedly suffering from diabetes and heart disease at the time of his death.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus at Bob Dylan Examiner for the assist.

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