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Posts Tagged ‘John Coltrane’

Died On This Date (December 23, 2013) Yusef Lateef / Jazz Great

Posted by themusicsover on December 23, 2013

Yusef Lateef (Born William Huddleston)
October 9, 1920 – December 23, 2013

yusef-lateefYusef Lateef was a highly influential jazz multi-instrumentalist who, primarily through the flute and tenor saxophone, is best remembered for seamlessly integrating of jazz and Eastern music.  Raised in Detroit, Michigan, Lateef was exposed to the playing of such local greats as Milt Jackson, Kenny Burrell and Elvin Jones at a very young age.  By the time he finished high school he was already proficient enough on the saxophone to launch his professional career.  In 1949, he was hired by Benny Goodman to tour as part of his orchestra.  By the late ’50s, Lateef was making his own records for Savoy, and later Prestige Records.  In 1961, he released arguably his most influential album, Eastern Sounds.  His use of Eastern instruments on that album clearly influenced the likes of John Coltrane.  In 1987, he was awarded a Grammy for the album, Yusef Lateef’s Little Symphony.  He also acquired numerous other awards and accolades throughout his career – not just as a musician, but as an educator as well.  Yusef Lateef was 93 when he passed away on December 23, 2013.

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Click to find at amazon.com

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Died On This Date (February 4, 2013) Donald Byrd / Jazz Great

Posted by themusicsover on February 4, 2013

Donald Byrd
December 9, 1932 – February 4, 2013

Photo by William Claxton

Photo by William Claxton

Donald Byrd was an influential jazz trumpeter who successfully brought jazz into R&B, funk, and later hip hop.  Born in Detroit, Michigan, Byrd was proficient at his instrument at a young age.  In fact, he performed with Lionel Hampton before graduating from high school.  After serving in the United States Air Force where he played in the band, Byrd earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music. While pursuing his master’s in New York City, he was hired by Art Blakey to play in his Jazz Messengers.  After leaving Blakey in 1956, Byrd played with some of the greatest names jazz has ever known.  That list includes Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, and Thelonious Monk.  During the ’70s, Byrd steered his horn toward fusion and R&B.  Although he had been recording influential albums for Blue Note Records as far back as 1959, it wasn’t until 1973’s Black Byrd that he delivered what would become the label’s biggest selling album.  He continued to release best sellers for many years to come.  Byrd was also an educator, having taught at Rutgers, NYU, and Howard University, to name a few.  In all, Byrd earned three Master’s degrees, a Doctorate and law degree.  During the ’90s, Byrd collaborated with hip hop great, Guru of Gang Starr fame on the latter’s Jazzmatazz Vol. 1 which was one of the first albums to back rap with live jazz musicians  and give it a hip hop production.  The landmark album was followed by a second volume that also featured Byrd.  He also contributed to the evolution of hip hop through the use of sampling.  Pieces of his music can be heard in cuts by the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, and Naughty By Nature.  Donald Byrd was 80 when he passed away on February 4, 2013.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

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

What You Should Own

Click to find at amazon.com

Click to find at amazon.com



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Died On This Date (January 8, 2013) Tandyn Almer / ’60s Singer-Songwriter; Wrote “Along Comes Mary”

Posted by themusicsover on January 8, 2013

Tandyn Almer
July 30, 1942 – January 8, 2013

tandyn-almerTandyn Almer was a mysterious Minneapolis-born singer-songwriter whose biggest contribution to popular music came by way of his “Along Came Mary,” a 1966 Top Ten hit as recorded by the Association.  Just a teenager when the music of John Coltrane and Miles Davis caught his ear, Almer, a future member of Mensa, decided to quit high school and move to Chicago to become a jazz musician.  By the ’60s, he found himself in Los Angeles, where he set his sights on rock music.  Over the next few years, he collaborated, as a songwriter or producer, with such acts as Dennis Olivieri, the Purple Gang, and the Garden Club.  During the ’70s, he wrote songs for A&M Records where he co-wrote the Beach Boys‘ “Sail On Sailor,” and “Marcella.”  Outside of music, Almer invented the Slave-Master water pipe which was called “the perfect bong” by at least one how-to manual.  By the ’80s, Almer was all but out of the music business, and living in Washington D.C. where he wrote songs for an annual comedy review put on by Hexagon, a D.C. based non-profit organization.  In recent years, Almer was reportedly in ailing health – suffering from heart and lung disease, until he passed away on January 8, 2013.  He was 70.

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


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Died On This Date (August 11, 2012) Von Freeman / Chicago Jazz Great

Posted by themusicsover on August 11, 2012

Earle “Von” Freeman
October 3, 1923 – August 11, 2012

Von Freeman was an influential jazz saxophonist who was revered the world over by fans of hard bop.  Even though his skills matched that of say, John Coltrane, Freeman never enjoyed the commercial success of the jazz titans beside whom he could easily stand.  This was perhaps by design. When once called by Miles Davis to replace Coltrane, Freeman respectfully declined.  After serving in the Navy – and playing in the Navy Band – during WWII, Freeman settled back in his hometown of Chicago where he and his brother, George Freeman, backed national acts when the toured through town.  That list includes Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.  Freeman also played in Sun Ra’s band during the early ’50s.  In 1972, he began making his own albums, most of which were critical favorites.  Even though his early records showcased a musical genius that was beyond most, it wasn’t until later releases, like 2004’s The Great Divide, that Freeman achieved some commercial success.  He did, however, receive one of music’s highest honors, a Jazz Masters Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Von Freeman was 88 when he died of heart failure on August 11, 2012.

What You Should Own

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The Great Divide - Von Freeman

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Died On This Date (June 1, 2012) Faruq Z. Bey (June 1, 2012) Avant Garde Jazz Saxophonist

Posted by themusicsover on June 1, 2012

Faruq Z. Bey (Born Jesse Davis)
DOB Unknown – June 1, 2012

Faruq Z. Bey was a jazz saxophonist who made his mark on popular music by way of free jazz.  Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Bey found inspiration in jazz icons like John Coltrane and Sun Ra.  In 1972, he co-founded Griot Galaxy, an avant-garde jazz band who were a favorite throughout out the Detroit area free jazz scene as well as in Europe where they found their most success touring.  They released just two proper albums during their run.  The group stayed together until 1989, after which Bey worked with many other jazz artists while focusing much of his efforts on the Northwoods Improvisers who recorded several albums with Bey.  During his later years, Bey’s health deteriorated to the point where he needed an oxygen tank a by his side at all times, but it barely slowed him down.  He also found time to write two books of poetry as well as a theoretical/aesthetic manifesto.  Faruq Bey passed away on June 1, 2012 of multiple health issues including emphysema.  He was thought to be 70.

Thanks to Henk de Bruin of 2+ Printing for the assist.



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