Their music won’t ‘be forgot’: RIP 2020

The record of these we’ve misplaced this 12 months is so lengthy, it’s unimaginable for me to cowl all of them on this one story. Nevertheless, NPR’s Jazz Night in America supplied this transferring and complete video tribute, which was posted on Dec. 17, 2020, earlier than they discovered of the current deaths of Stanley Cowell, pianist and composer; Dianne Moser, pianist and educator; and Jeff Clayton, saxophonist and flutist.

One distinctive facet of jazz is that it by no means stops honoring the musicians who’ve formed its sound. In 2020, greater than 40 of these voices had been silenced, and Jazz Evening in America felt the necessity to acknowledge their loss with an unique creative gesture. We selected an artist deeply attuned to the music’s legacy, Grammy-winning trumpeter Keyon Harrold, and a symbolic assembly place, the brownstone stoop. Extra exactly, our small video workforce met Harrold on a frigid December night at Socrates Sculpture Backyard in Queens, the place Fontaine Capel’s Proposals for a Monument evokes the communal but typically contemplative house {that a} stoop will be (and the specter of an iconic picture, colloquially often called A Nice Day in Harlem). Taking part in trumpet within the chilly is not any small feat; the tuning of the steel instrument shifts because the temperature falls. Harrold needed to alter to those adjustments in actual time as he carried out his poignant ballad “Ethereal Souls.” However he was undaunted, buoyed by the fixed encouragement of his son, Keyon, Jr. — one other reminder of the lineage embodied on this music, and an unseen drive behind this hauntingly stunning efficiency.

And this 12 months opened with the information of the loss of life of jazz grasp Jimmy Heath.

Jimmy Heath has lengthy been acknowledged as an excellent instrumentalist and an impressive composer and arranger.  Jimmy is the center brother of the legendary Heath Brothers (Percy Heath/bass and Tootie Heath/drums), and is the daddy of James ‘Mtume’, Roslyn and Jeffery. He has carried out with almost all of the jazz greats of the final 50 years, from Howard McGhee, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis to Wynton Marsalis. In 1948 on the age of 21, he carried out within the First Worldwide Jazz Pageant in Paris with McGhee, sharing the stage with Coleman Hawkins, Slam Stewart, and Erroll Garner. One in every of Heath’s earliest huge bands (1947-1948) in Philadelphia included John Coltrane, Benny Golson, Specs Wright, Cal Massey, Johnny Coles, Ray Bryant, and Nelson Boyd.  Charlie Parker and Max Roach sat in on one event.

Throughout his profession, Jimmy Heath has carried out on greater than 100 file albums together with seven with The Heath Brothers and twelve as a frontrunner. Jimmy has additionally written greater than 125 compositions, lots of which have change into jazz requirements and have been recorded by different artists together with Artwork Farmer, Cannonball Adderley,   Clark Terry, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, James Moody, Milt Jackson, Ahmad Jamal, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie J.J Johnson and Dexter Gordon. Jimmy has additionally composed prolonged works – seven suites and two string quartets – and he premiered his first symphonic work, “Three Ears,” in 1988 at Queens Faculty (CUNY) with Maurice Peress conducting.

Flutist Nelba Márquez-Greene, posted these pictures.  


Wall Road Journal music and humanities contributor and founding father of JazzWax tweeted:

Myers wrote:

Nicknamed “Little Fowl” for his Parker-like fluidity when he performed alto saxophone within the late 1940s, Jimmy did not begin recording management albums till 1959, when producer Orrin Keepnews signed him to Riverside Data. In 1975, he shaped the Heath Brothers, with drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath and bassist Percy Heath, who performed within the Fashionable Jazz Quartet.

Jimmy was among the many jazz giants who grew up in Philadelphia, a gaggle that included John Coltrane, Benny Golson, McCoy Tyner, Lee Morgan, Philly Joe Jones, Reggie Workman and Shirley Scott. However in contrast to these musicians, Jimmy was pulled off the scene between 1954 and ’59—a essential five-year interval in jazz historical past when jazz flourished on 12-inch albums. Jimmy’s huge band compositions and preparations on recordings are particularly notable for his or her swing and complicated development.

For a take a look at Heath’s legacy, the documentary Passing the Torch is a spot to begin.

Passing the Torch paperwork a ninety 12 months previous Jazz grasp, Jimmy Heath, mentoring teenage musicians with a thirst for information and an appreciation of America’s homegrown artwork kind, Jazz. Director Bret Primack captures Heath’s mild, humorous sharing of life classes and the non-threatening manner he guides aspiring artists to musical excellence. An esteemed mentor, Mr. Heath reaches a a lot youthful technology by understanding his function, to be reliable, engaged, genuine, and finely tuned to their wants. Accordingly, these youngsters acknowledge their distinctive alternative, to study Jazz and life from a person who walked with giants like John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. Mr. Heath, got here to the Tucson Jazz Pageant to play with the Tucson Jazz Institute’s Ellington Band, repeated winners of Jazz at Lincoln Middle’s Basically Ellington competitors for highschool teams. The collaboration was so significant that Doug Tidaback, the nationally acknowledged Jazz educator and co-founder of the Tucson Jazz Institute, introduced Jimmy Heath again for a recording session. Filmmaker and instructor Bret Primack documented the interplay between the Jazz Yoda and this very gifted group of teenage musicians. Passing the Torch, a forty-three minute documentary, contains efficiency excerpts, rehearsals, interviews and behind the scenes moments that commemorate the enjoyment of creation individually, and as a part of a gaggle, and the intergenerational sharing of knowledge.

The month of March swept in a harsh pandemic, and likewise ceaselessly dimmed the lights of 4 musicians—McCoy Tyner, Manu Dibango, Bill Withers and Wallace Roney; Dibango and Roney died of problems from COVID-19.

The announcement for Tyner got here from his nephew.

In 2002, Tyner was made an NEA Jazzmaster.

Rising up in Philadelphia, Tyner’s neighbors had been jazz musicians Richie and Bud Powell, who influenced his piano enjoying. Learning music on the West Philadelphia Music Faculty and later on the Granoff Faculty of Music, Tyner started enjoying gigs in his teenagers, and first met Coltrane whereas acting at a neighborhood membership referred to as the Crimson Rooster at age 17. His first essential skilled gig was with the Benny GolsonArt Farmer band Jazztet in 1959, with which he made his recording debut.

Quickly he started working with Coltrane, a relationship that produced a few of the most influential music in jazz. From 1960 to 1965, Tyner performed a significant function within the success of the Coltrane quartet (which included Elvin Jones on drums and Jimmy Garrison on bass), utilizing richly textured harmonies as rhythmic gadgets in opposition to Coltrane’s “sheets of sound” saxophone enjoying.

After leaving the quartet, Tyner demonstrated his super melodic and rhythmic aptitude for composition on such albums as The Actual McCoy, which featured “Ardour Dance,” “Contemplation,” and “Blues on the Nook,” and Sahara, which featured “Ebony Queen” and the title observe. Tyner has continued to experiment together with his sound, pushing rhythms and tonalities to the restrict, his fluttering proper hand making a cascade of notes. Specifically, he has explored the trio kind, recording with a sequence of various bassists and drummers, comparable to Ron Carter, Stanley Clarke, Artwork Davis, Al Foster, Elvin Jones, and Tony Williams. Within the 1980s, he recorded with a singer for the primary time, Phyllis Hyman.


Ben Ratlett closed his NYT obituary with this glimpse into Tyner’s perspective on his work.

He resisted analyzing or theorizing about his personal work. He tended to speak extra by way of studying and life expertise.

“To me,” he instructed Mr. Hentoff, “dwelling and music are all the identical factor. And I preserve discovering out extra about music as I study extra about myself, my surroundings, about every kind of various issues in life.

“I play what I stay. Subsequently, simply as I can’t predict what sorts of experiences I’m going to have, I can’t predict the instructions through which my music will go. I simply need to write and play my instrument as I really feel.”

When Invoice Withers died I posted the information right here on Day by day Kos, and watched the tributes pour in from across the globe. He touched so many individuals together with his songs. 


His official web site details his history:

“When you have got a expertise it once you’re 5 years previous– it’s simply getting round to it.” ~B.W.

Slab Fork, West Virginia, a city of about 200 residents, was Invoice’s fatherland. The youngest of six youngsters, he was raised in close by Beckley, in coal mining nation. Withers’ father, a miner, died when Withers was 13. At 17, enlistment within the Navy was Invoice’s ticket out. Withers arrived in Los Angeles in 1967. His self-financed demos on which Watts 103rd Road Band member Ray Jackson served as arranger and keyboardist, led Jackson to introduce him to Forrest Hamilton. Hamilton then launched Withers to Clarence Avant of Sussex Data who tapped Booker T. Jones to supply Invoice’s debut album. This resulted within the album Simply As I Am with the Grammy-winning “Ain’t No Sunshine” and the much-loved “Grandma’s Arms.” The pragmatic Withers — who was now in a position to go away his straight gig at an plane firm — subsequently assembled the remaining members of the Watts 103rd Road Band for U.S. and worldwide excursions.

The second album, Nonetheless Invoice, lauded as “a stone-soul masterpiece” by Rolling Stone journal, delivered soon-to-be requirements “Lean on Me” and “Use Me.” Invoice Withers Dwell at Carnegie Corridor adopted. After the discharge of +’Justments in 1974, Withers severed ties with Sussex to signal with Columbia (who subsequently re-released his again catalog.) 1975’s Making Music, Making Buddies showcased extra classics, “Howdy Like Earlier than” and “Make Like to Your Thoughts”; 1976’s Bare & Heat, with the idyllic love track to his adopted residence, “Metropolis of the Angels”; 1977’s Menagerie, with the much-covered “Beautiful Day” and 1979’s ‘Bout Love, and the only “Don’t It Make It Higher,” a high 30 R&B single, continued the run of top-charting releases.

“Simply the Two of Us” with Grover Washington, Jr. was a profession pinnacle, garnering 4 Grammy nominations with Withers accepting the award for Greatest R&B Tune. “Soul Shadows” with The Crusaders marked an extra collaborative challenge of the interval and “In The Identify Of Love” with Ralph MacDonald obtained a 1984 Grammy nomination for vocal efficiency.

I don’t suppose I do know anybody who hasn’t heard, and cherished “Lean on Me.”

The “Merry Month of Could,” wasn’t joyous the place the music world was involved. On Could 9, the person who many individuals think about to be the true king and founding father of rock ‘n’ roll died. I’ll always remember transferring to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, from New York in 1957 and listening to Little Richard on the radio for the primary time. I used to be solely 9 years previous then, however immediately fell in love with not solely his music, however his flamboyant persona. I couldn’t perceive how anybody may probably take heed to and purchase the watered-down milquetoast white “covers” of his songs.

Tim Londergan discusses a few of the historical past of Pat Boone’s sanitized covers of Little Richard’s hits.

Just a few early black rockers took a tolerant view of being ‘lined’ by white artists (they could say ‘The covers reached a bigger viewers than my data ever may, and thus extra individuals loved the music I created’), However others had been infuriated that their creative product was being ripped off.  This was significantly irritating as the duvet was typically decidedly inferior to the unique, or the duvet model was merely a note-for-note copy of the unique. To compound the insult, it was commonplace for race data publishers to promote the rights to the track for a pittance.

Little Richard is certainly within the “pissed off” class on this situation. He feels that he invented rock and roll — and it’s exhausting to argue with a man who gave classes in showmanship to each the Beatles and the Rolling Stones once they opened for his British excursions.  It was irritating to Little Richard that Pat Boone lined a number of of his songs (along with Tutti Frutti, Pat lined Lengthy Tall Sally, Good Golly Miss Molly and Rip it Up), but it surely was significantly galling that Boone’s cowl of Tutti Frutti outsold his unique!  This nonetheless rankles the proud Richard Penniman; in an interview with Washington Submit author Richard Harrington, he stated:

They didn’t need me to be within the white guys’ manner … I felt I used to be pushed right into a rhythm and blues nook to maintain out of rockers’ manner, as a result of that’s the place the cash is. When ‘Tutti Frutti’ got here out … They wanted a rock star to dam me out of white properties as a result of I used to be a hero to white children. The white children would have Pat Boone upon the dresser and me within the drawer ’trigger they preferred my model higher, however the households didn’t need me due to the picture that I used to be projecting.

The BBC’s Late Night Line-Up broadcast this fascinating (and outrageous) interview with Little Richard, previous to his live performance efficiency at The London Rock and Roll Present, at Wembley Stadium, on August 5, 1972.

This can be a clip from the aforementioned Wembley gig, taken from the 1973 movie, The London Rock and Roll ShowWatching this it struck me, that so many musicians that adopted in him, borrowed liberally from components of the Little Richard persona—Prince and Michael Jackson, immediately got here to thoughts. 


Although like most Black youngsters who grew up in the course of the ‘60s, I cherished R&B and rock ‘n’ roll, nevertheless jazz was nonetheless my old flame, particularly vocals. I’ve talked regularly right here about having had the great fortune to attend the High School of Music & Art in New York Metropolis (now Fiorello H. LaGuardia Excessive Faculty) the place a proper of passage for brand new college students was to sing “Cloudburst” by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross and Annie Ross’ “Twisted.”

Vocalese was “our factor” and a bit of my life ended after I learn of her loss of life on July 21

Her nephew posted this discover to Twitter.


BBC Information had this announcement:

Born in Mitcham, south London, Ross was the daughter of Scottish vaudevillians John and Mary Quick, who took her to Los Angeles when she was 4. In 1938, Ross made her movie debut in Our Gang Follies, through which she sang conventional track The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond. She went on to play Judy Garland’s youthful sister in 1943’s Presenting Lily Mars.

Ross turned one of many early practitioners of “vocalese”, a singing type through which unique lyrics are set to an instrumental jazz solo. At 22 she wrote the lyrics to the vocalese track Twisted, a observe that was later lined by Bette Midler, Joni Mitchell and others. That led Duke Ellington to ask her to face in for Billie Holliday on the well-known Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York. Ross went on file seven albums with Dave Lambert and Jon Hendricks, together with 1957’s Sing a Tune of Basie.

Although many jazz followers are aware of Ross as a part of the LH&R trio, she additionally recorded solo albums, like “Skylark” previous to hooking up with the group.


On this interview she talks about her love for singing, and the documentary movie about her life, No One But Me, premiering on the 2012 Glasgow Movie Pageant.

That is in no way a whole record of musicians who handed on in 2020. As I discussed above, the record is much too lengthy for one story. I’m hoping you’ll be a part of me within the feedback part and publish the music of artists we misplaced in 2020 who you admire and treasure, as we play out the previous 12 months and enter the brand new. 

Could they by no means “be forgot.”

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