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Posts Tagged ‘Weather Report’

Died On This Date (December 26, 2016) Alphonse Mouzon / 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 (February 4, 2016) Maurice White / Founder of Earth, Wind & Fire

Posted by themusicsover on February 4, 2016

Maurice White
December 19, 1941 – February 4, 2016

Maurice-WhiteMaurice White was the founder and co-lead singer of the highly influential R&B band, Earth, Wind & Fire.  Formed in Chicago in 1969, the band went on to sell over 100 million albums, making them one of the most successful bands of the 20th century.  For over four decades, the group dazzled audiences around the world thanks in part to their dynamic horn section and energetic live shows.  White was born in Memphis, Tennessee and gravitated toward music at an early age along with childhood friend, Booker T Jones.  As a teenager, White moved to Chicago where he found work as a session drummer for the legendary label, Chess Records.  He played on numerous records by the likes of Etta James, Muddy Waters, the Impressions, and Buddy Guy.   In 1966, he joined Ramsey Lewis Trio with whom he recorded nine albums and received his first Grammy for the single, “Hold It Right There.”  Three years later, he formed Earth, Wind & Fire and went on to produce most of the their albums.  In all, the group earned six Grammys along with countless other awards and accolades.  During the ’80s, White was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Due to that, he ultimately retired from touring in 1994, but continued to oversee the band’s business side while producing their records and those by others.   His most notable successes outside of Earth, Wind & Fire were releases by the Emotions and Deniece Williams.   The stunning list of other collaborators includes Barbra Streisand, Weather Report, Neil Diamond, and Minnie Riperton.  Maurice White was 74 when he passed away on February 4, 2016.  Cause of death was not immediately released but likely attributed to his long battle with Parkinson’s.

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Died On This Date (July 4, 2009) Dee Dee Bellson / Jazz Vocalist

Posted by themusicsover on July 4, 2010

Dee Dee Bellson
April 20, 1960 – July 4, 2009

With Louis Bellson

With Louis Bellson

Dee Dee Bellson was the adopted daughter of Pearl Bailey and Louis Bellson.  As a child, Bellson traveled with her mother on tour and occasionally appeared on her television show.  She later became a professional jazz singer, touring all over the world, performing with her father’s band, and singing on albums by such jazz artists as Weather Report and Wayne Shorter.  Dee Dee Bellson died as a result of a heart attack at the age of 49.

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Died On This Date (September 21, 1987) Jaco Pastorius / Influential Jazz Bassist

Posted by themusicsover on September 21, 2009

John “Jaco” Pastorius
December 1, 1951 – September 21, 1987

One of the most influential bassists of all time, Jaco Pastorius was arguably the greatest modern jazz bass player of all time.  Regarded as a gifted athlete growing up, Pastorius began to focus on his second love, music following a football injury to his wrist at the age of 13.  At the time he was playing to drums, but the injury was bad enough that he had to give up the sticks and find another instrument to excel at.  It was then that he picked up the bass.  As he developed, his interests began to lean toward jazz and R&B.    He began playing with then-unknown Pat Metheny, with whom he made his first recordings.  He got is break in 1975 when Bobby Colomby, then of Blood, Sweat & Tears helped him get a deal with CBS Records who released his self-titled solo debut in 1976.  With a stellar cast that included David Sanborn, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, many consider Jaco Pastorius to be the best bass album ever recorded.  Shortly thereafter, Pastorius was invited by Joe Zawunil to join the great fusion band, Weather Report.  Though his contributions to Weather Report were undeniable, his tenure with the band was rocky at time due to his increasing abuse of alcohol coupled with his then undiagnosed bipolar disorder.  He parted ways with the band in 1981 and continued his downward spiral.  Although diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982, and receiving treatment for it, things weren’t getting much better.  By mid ’80s he was living on the streets of New York City and in 1986, he moved down to Florida where he continued to be homeless.  On September 11, 1987, Pastorius was kicked out of a Santana concert after sneaking up on stage.  He found his way to a local club and after being refused entry, he became violent and confrontational with the bouncer.  A fight ensued during which Pastorius sustained head injuries severe enough to require a visit to a hospital where he soon fell into a coma.  He died ten days later at the age of 35.  The bouncer at the club later served eight months in prison for manslaughter.

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Jaco Pastorius - Jaco Pastorius

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