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Posts Tagged ‘Frank Zappa’

RIP, Col. Bruce Hampton (May 2, 2017) Influential Rock Guitarist

Posted by themusicsover on May 2, 2017

Col. Bruce Hampton (Born Gustav Berglund)
April 30, 1947 – May 2, 2017

Photo by Roger Gupta via Wikimedia

Bruce Hampton, more commonly known as Col. Bruce Hampton, was a bluesy avant-garde guitarist whose work has been credited for being a main inspiration on countless musicians, and in particular, jam bands who took a shine to his improvisational skills. Born in Knoxville, TN, Hampton’s first band of note was the blues rock outfit, Hampton Grease Band whose first album, Music To Eat was released by Columbia Records in 1971.  Never publicly proven one way or another, legend has it that it is the 2nd worst selling album in Columbia Records history – barely nudged out by an unknown yoga album.  True or not, the band soon parted ways with Columbia and found a more fitting home on Frank Zappa‘s Bizzare Records,  before calling it quits in 1973.  Hampton went on to release dozens of albums under different monikers over the next four decades and guesting on countless others while performing live in front of adoring fans around the world.  In 1992, Hampton helped launch the H.O.R.D.E. (Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere ) festival tour.  Taking their cue from the recently launched Lollapalooza tour, founding band Blues Traveler imagined a traveling show where improvisational bands of every stripe could come together for the enjoyment of like-minded fans.  Besides Hampton’s Aquarium Rescue Unit, bands on the inaugural run included Phish, Widespread Panic and the Spin Doctors.  On May 1, 2017, the still very much active Col. Bruce Hampton was honored with a 70th birthday concert in Atlanta, GA. The all-star event included performers such as John Popper, Peter Buck, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, and Warren Haynes alongside members of Phish, Widespread Panic, Leftover Salmon, and more.  While performing “Turn on Your Love Lovelight” during the encore, Hampton collapsed in a way that many in the audience initially assumed it was part of the show.  When it was realized that he was indeed suffering from a medical emergency, he was carried offstage and taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead during the early hours of May 2, 2017. Cause of death was not immediately released.

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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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