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Aretha Franklin (1942-2018)

Aretha Franklin (1942-2018)

Aretha Franklin, long considered the undisputed “Queen of Soul” and one of America's most emotional and spiritual interpreters of pop, jazz and soul songs, died on Thursday at her home in Detroit. She was 76. The cause was advanced pancreatic cancer. My Franklin obituary and appreciation for The Wall Street Journal can be found here. Yesterday, ...

Morgana King: 1930-2018

Morgana King: 1930-2018

Morgana King, a jazz singer with an unusual voice that seemed more in sync with classical than swing and who is perhaps best known as playing Marlon Brando's wife in the first two Godfather films, died earlier this year on March 22. She was 87. The only reason we know about her passing is that Matt ...

Patrick Williams Is Gone

Patrick Williams Is Gone

Sorry to learn that composer, arranger and bandleader Patrick Williams died yesterday at 79. Prolific in his work for motion pictures and television, Williams was sometimes taken for granted—but never by fellow members of the arranging fraternity or by the musicians who took part in recordings of his ingenious, often demanding, arrangements. Frank Sinatra chose Williams ...

Henry Butler, 1948-2018

Henry Butler, 1948-2018

The gifted New Orleans pianist Henry Butler has died. He was 69. Noted for virtuosity at the keyboard and soulful depth as a singer, Butler pursued his career primarily in his home city, with frequent tours overseas. Blinded by glaucoma as an infant, he excelled academically at all levels and dazzled other musicians with his skill. ...

Bill Watrous (1939-2018)

Bill Watrous (1939-2018)

Bill Watrous, a jazz trombonist who came up in the 1960s just as jazz was fading and the trombone was transitioning into studio orchestras and funk-soul groups such as the Jazz Crusaders and Kool and the Gang, died on July 2, 2018. He was 79. Watrous's finest work was on ballads. His singing trombone style on ...

Bill Watrous Has Died

Bill Watrous Has Died

Trombonist Bill Watrous died yesterday in Los Angeles at the age of 79. Celebrated for his skill, range and speed, Watrous employed those attributes in a career that began with Billy Butterfield and included work with the big bands of Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson and Johnny Richards. In the early 1970s he recorded with ...

Lorraine Gordon, RIP

Lorraine Gordon, RIP

Lorraine Gordon, who inherited the Village Vanguard after her husband Max died in 1989, remained its proprietor and no-nonsense guiding spirit until her death yesterday in New York. She was 95. Under the Gordons, the Vanguard became quite likely the most famous jazz club in the world. Bill Evans, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, the Thad Jones-Mel ...

Jack Reilly, RIP

Jack Reilly, RIP

News has arrived that the pianist Jack Reilly died of a massive stroke on Friday at his home in New Jersey. Mr. Reilly, 86, was an accomplished classical and jazz pianist who returned to his native New York in 1954 following Navy service and pursued graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music. His early experience ...

Charles Neville

Charles Neville

Mew Orleans is mourning the death on Friday of Charles Neville, saxophonist and ever-smiling presence in the Neville Brothers band from 1977 to 2015. Charles was a focal point with his brothers Cyril, Art and Aaron in the family band that became one of the city’s most successful and celebrated musical groups. For years, they were ...

Bob Dorough Is Gone

Bob Dorough Is Gone

Word has arrived that Bob Dorough died today at his home in Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania. He was 94. Dorough’s greatest fame in popular culture stemmed from his central role in the enormously successful television series Schoolhouse Rock. The program informed and entertained children, and many adults, from 1973 to 1985. Within the jazz community, Dorough was ...