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Rudy Van Gelder (1924-2016)

Rudy Van Gelder (1924-2016)

Rudy Van Gelder, a New Jersey optometrist who in the late 1940s extended his passion for ocular precision to professional recording and wound up becoming one of jazz's finest and most enigmatic studio engineers, died on Aug. 25. He was 91. When Rudy started recording at his parents Hackensack, N.J., home (above), he knew virtually nothing ...

Rudy Van Gelder, 1924-2016

Rudy Van Gelder, 1924-2016

Rudy Van Gelder, who recorded thousands of albums by musicians including some of the most important in jazz, died today at 91. As a young man, Van Gelder began recording in a room in his parents’ house in Teaneck, New Jersey. Among his recordings were early albums by Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk. He was a ...

Toots Thielemans (1922-2016)

Toots Thielemans (1922-2016)

Toots Thielemans, a highly gifted swing-jazz guitarist, accordionist, harmonicist and whistler who began recording in his native Belgium just after World War II before relocating to the States in 1952 and was the composer of the jazz standard Bluesette, died Aug. 22. He was 94. In many respects, Thielemans brought a new level of respect to ...

Toots Thielemans 1922-2016

Toots Thielemans 1922-2016

Toots Thielemans, the man who made the harmonica a well-known jazz instrument died today in Brussels, Belgium, his hometown. He was 94. Thielemans was recently hospitalized after a fall that resulted in a broken arm, but neither his family nor management representatives specified the cause of his death. On an instrument often dismissed as a novelty, ...

Bobby Hutcherson: 1941-2016

Bobby Hutcherson: 1941-2016

Bobby Hutcherson, whose swinging, ringing modal approach on the vibraphone not only revolutionized the instrument's role and personality but also soulfully mirrored the tumultuous 1960s and early 1970s, died on Aug. 15. He was 75. Of all the jazz musicians who recorded important albums in the 1960s, Hutcherson (and Wayne Shorter, to some extent) captured a ...

Bobby Hutcherson: 1941-2016

Bobby Hutcherson: 1941-2016

Bobby Hutcherson, whose vibraphone playing developed deep and complex harmonies, died on Monday at home in Montara, California. He was 75. When Hutcherson came to prominence in the early 1960s, he was in the forefront of young musicians already adept at bebop but seeking greater freedom. He expanded his instrument’s range of tonal colors, with particular ...

Pete Fountain

Pete Fountain

As I prepared to leave Ystad, I learned that clarinetist Pete Fountain died on Saturday in jny: New Orleans. By way of his recordings and television exposure, he became an unofficial and effective cultural spokesman for his beloved hometown and was happy to return there following his years in the 1950s with Lawrence Welk’s TV show. ...

Claude Williamson 1926-2016

Claude Williamson 1926-2016

Claude Williamson, a piano mainstay of jazz in California for seven decades, died on July 16 in Los Angeles. He had been in decline since he fell in his home in 2015 and broke a hip. After Williamson moved from Boston to L.A. in 1947, he played with Charlie Barnet’s band for two years and was ...

Claude Williamson (1926-2016)

Claude Williamson (1926-2016)

Claude Williamson, a West Coast jazz pianist who was deeply influenced by the bebop piano of Bud Powell and was perhaps the last surviving member of the Lighthouse All Stars, often unleashing centipede-like speed on the keyboard along with sinewy improvisational lines, died July 16. He was 89. His son, Marc, said last night that his ...

Passings: Friedman, Jones, Thompson

Passings: Friedman,  Jones, Thompson

The generations move on. It’s a sad part of an observer’s task to acknowledge the deaths of musicians who made important contributions. Pianist Don Friedman died of pancreatic cancer at home in New York City on June 30. He was 81. Friedman was treasured by fellow musicians for the subtlety and strength of his support as ...


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