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Posts Tagged ‘Miles Davis’

RIP, Alphonse Mouzon (December 26, 2016) Jazz Fusion Pioneer

Posted by themusicsover on December 26, 2016

Alphonse Mouzon
November 21, 1948 – December 26, 2016

Alphonse Mouzon was a jazz drummer who came to be one of the architects of American jazz fusion during the late ’60s and early ’70s.  Born in Charleston, SC, Mouzon realized in high school that he had what it took to make a living as a musician.  Upon graduation, he moved to New York City where he studied music and drama.  Mouzon’s first gig of note was playing percussion in the Broadway show, Promises, Promises.   He then went to work with jazz great, McCoy Tyner, and spent about a year in Weather Report before being signed to Blue Note Records as a solo artist in 1972.  In 1973, he joined up with Larry Coryell‘s Eleventh House, one of the premiere fusion bands of its time.  He played with Coryell for about two years and can be heard on such albums as Introducing The Eleventh House and Level One.  Throughout his career, which spanned over 45 years, Mouzon also recorded or performed with the likes of Donald Byrd, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Roberta Flack, Robert Plant, Stevie Wonder, and Eric Clapton – to name a few.  Alphonse Mouzon died from neuroendocrine carcinoma on December 26, 2016.  He was 68.

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Died On This Date (June 18, 2014) Horace Silver / Jazz Great

Posted by themusicsover on June 18, 2014

Horace Silver
September 2, 1928 – June 18, 2014

horace-silverHorace Silver was an influential American jazz pianist who is largely responsible for creating what is now known as hard bop.  Born in Norwalk, Connecticut, Silver lived close enough to New York City to experience its jazz scene from an early age.  After initially picking up the tenor sax, Silver moved over the piano.  His big break came  in 1950 when Stan Getz hired his band to back him at a Hartford gig. That led to a tour and Silver’s recording debut on one of Getz’s records.  Getz later recorded three of Silver’s compositions.  In 1951, Silver formed the Jazz Messengers, one of the most influential jazz collectives of all time.  He also played and recorded with the likes of Miles Davis, Lou Donaldson, and Hank Mobley, to name a few.  In 1956, he signed with Blue Note Records, his home until 1980. Over the course of his career, Silver released over 40 albums as a band leader and countless others as a sideman.  Horace Silver was 85 when he died of natural causes on June 18, 2014.

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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 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.

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