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Posts Tagged ‘Harry Belafonte’

Died On This Date (June 30, 2012) Yomo Toro / Popular Puerto Rican Musician

Posted by themusicsover on June 30, 2012

Yomo Toro (Born Victor Touro)
July 26, 1933 – June 30, 2012

Yomo Toro was a beloved Puerto Rican musician whose prowess with the cuatro – a mandolin-type of stringed instrument – helped define the New York City Latin music scene of the ’50s and ’60s.  Toro was just six when he picked up the instrument, and by 15 he was already fronting his own band.  He commuted between Puerto Rico and New York City beginning in 1953, and ultimately moved there in 1957.  During the ’70s, he recorded with and traveled the world as part of the legendary Salsa group, the Fania All-Stars. Fania Records is considered the finest Salsa label the world has ever known.  During the ’60s and ’70s, Toro hosted his own local television program, The Yomo Toro Show. Over the course of his career, he released over 20 albums and appeared on more than 150 others.  He recorded with the likes of Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, David Byrne, Paul Simon, Harry Belafonte, and Linda Ronstadt.   Yomo Toro was 78 when he died of kidney failure on June 30, 2012.



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Died On This Date (December 18, 2011) Ralph MacDonald / Percussionist & Hit Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on December 18, 2011

Ralph MacDonald
March 15, 1944 – December 18, 2011

Ralph MacDonald was an in-demand percussionist and hit songwriter who could count two of the biggest R&B songs of the ’70s as his own.  Growing up in a musical family in Harlem, New York, MacDonald first picked up the steelpan as a youngster.  By the time he was 17, he had already played his first big gig at a local Harry Belafonte show.  He continued on with Belafonte for the next ten years until parting ways in 1971.  MacDonald soon became one of contemporary music’s most in-demand session players, performing on countless R&B, jazz and disco records.   The list  of those he recorded with includes George Benson, Paul Simon, Jimmy Buffett, Carole King, Average White Band, the Brothers Johnson, Amy Winehouse, Aretha Franklin, and David Bowie.  MacDonald also released several albums under his own name. His song, “Calypso Breakdown” can be heard on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.  As a songwriter, MacDonald scored to massive c0-writing hits; “Where Is The Love,” the 1971 hit for Roberta Flack, and “Just The Two Of Us,” the Grammy-winning hit for Bill Withers in 1981.  Ralph MacDonald was 67 when he died of lung cancer on December 8, 2011.

Thanks to Paul Bearer for the assist.



Posted in Jazz, Musician, R&B, Songwriter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Died On This Date (October 16, 2011) Pete Rugolo / Jazz Composer & Arranger

Posted by themusicsover on October 16, 2011

Pietro Rugolo
December 25, 1915 – October 16, 2011

Pete Rugolo was an Italian born American jazz composer and arranger who, over a career that spanned over five decades worked on albums by the likes of June Christy, Nat King Cole, Harry Belafonte, Mel Torme, and Stan Kenton.  Throughout the ’60s and ’70s, Rugolo focused primarily on television, helping create music for such TV programs as Leave It To Beaver, The Fugitive, Run For Your Life, and many others.  He also arranged and composed music for several films up until his retirement in the late ’90s.  Pete Rugolo was 95 when he passed away on October 16, 2011.

Thanks to Paul Bearer for the assist.



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Died On This Date (April 5, 2011) Gil Robbins / The Highwaymen; Father Of Actor, Tim Robbins

Posted by themusicsover on April 5, 2011

Gil Robbins
April 3, 1931 – April 5, 2011

Gil Robbins was a folk singer-songwriter and bassist who is best remembered as part of the influential folk group, the Highwaymen.  Prior to Robbins joining the group, they had significant pop hits with “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore” and “Cottonfields.”  Born in Washington state and raised in Southern California – where he was the drum major of the UCLA marching band, Robbins eventually found himself immersed in the thriving folk scene of Greenwich Village in New York City.  He was a member of the Belafonte Singers (Harry Belafonte’s touring group), and the Cumberland Three.  For a time, he and Tom Paxton were writing and performing partners.  Robbins joined the Highwaymen in 1962 and played on five albums until they split up in 1964.  He has been credited for taking the band in a more political direction.  His children include actor, Tim Robbins. Gil Robbins died of prostate cancer on April 5, 2011.  He was 80.

Thanks to Ed Hardy for the assist.



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On This Date (April 1, 2008) Sam Gesser / Canadian Concert Producer

Posted by themusicsover on April 1, 2010

Sam Gesser
January 7, 1930 – April 1, 2008

Sam Gessar at right; Photo by John W. MacDonald

Sam Gesser was a Canadian concert promoter who brought the likes of Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and Janis Joplin to Montreal in the ‘60s. With a career that spanned over 50 years, Gesser started as radio and television writer, later joining the Folkways label as their Canadian representative. While with Folkways, he produced over 100 albums. He switched to concert promotion in the ‘60s and produced shows and tours by Harry Belafonte, Van Cliburn, Peter, Paul & Mary, Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and many more.  Gessar died of cancer on April 2, 2008 at the age of 78.



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