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Annie Ross: 1930-2020

Annie Ross: 1930-2020

Annie Ross, a pioneering vocalese singer and songwriter, and the last surviving member of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross—arguably the best-known and most successful vocal group in jazz—died on July 21. She was 89. Writing lyrics to jazz standards and modern jazz solos and singing them was a mark of subterranean hipness in the late 1940s and early '50s. Her first two vocalese sides in 1952, for which she wrote the lyrics, were Twisted, based on a Wardell Gray solo, and ...

Thanks, Freddy, for the jazz connection

Thanks, Freddy, for the jazz connection

The fine pianist and singer Freddy Cole died Saturday, June 27, at age 88 at his home in Atlanta. He had been struggling with cardiovascular issues for a while. His manager, Suzi Reynolds, called him Mr. Magic. “He wove a web of sonic beauty with every note and kept listeners silently breathless with his casual, elegant storytelling...," she reflected Sunday via email. While working for many years in the immense shadow of his far-famous elder brother, Nat King Cole, Freddy ...

Johnny Mandel (1925-2020)

Johnny Mandel (1925-2020)

Johnny Mandel, a elegant arranger, composer, conductor and bass trumpeter who began his career writing for big bands in the 1940s, crossed over to jazz in the '50s and wound up scoring movies in the late 1950s and beyond, including main titles that became standards, died June 29. He was 94. Like other player-arrangers of the era, including Neal Hefti, Quincy Jones and Henry Mancini, Johnny settled in Los Angeles and tailored his passion for jazz to the commercial demands ...

Christo (1935-2020)

Christo (1935-2020)

Lost this week in the flurry of shocking events in Minneapolis and on the nation's streets was the death on May 31 of environmental artist Christo Javacheff, known professionally as Christo. He was 84. With his wife, Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009, Christo specialized in massive sculptural pieces that shrouded iconic architecture and intruded on landscapes and lakes with colorful fabric, fences and floating walkways. Their purpose was to jolt the emotions of viewers and stimulate wonderment and joy, especially ...

Lennie Niehaus (1929-2020)

Lennie Niehaus (1929-2020)

Lennie Niehaus, a Los Angeles alto saxophonist and prolific composer for big bands and his own octet starting in the 1950s before moving on to television and Clint Eastwood-directed films, died May 28. He was 90. Lennie was one of the giants of the West Coast linear jazz sound. Along with Bill Holman, Shorty Rogers, Gerry Mulligan, Pete Rugolo and Dave Pell, Lennie arranged prolifically for West Coast small groups and big bands in the 1950s, introducing a new dynamic, ...

Jimmy Cobb (1929-2020)

Jimmy Cobb (1929-2020)

Jimmy Cobb, a drummer whose sensitive, smoldering touch on Miles Davis albums such as Kind of Blue and Some Day My Prince Will Come gave the trumpeter's masterful sextet and quintet a sheer, elegant quality, died on May 24. He was 91. Jimmy began his recording career on Dinah Washington 78s in the late 1940s followed by alto saxophonist Earl Bostic in the early 1950s. He then recorded LPs with Cannonball Adderley and his brother Nat throughout the 1950s. In ...

Another big loss for jazz

Another big loss for jazz

Drummer Jimmy Cobb, for 29 years the only surviving member of trumpeter Miles Davis' Kind of Blue sextet, died yesterday at his home in Manhattan. He was 91 and had been battling lung cancer. Cobb was the fourth NEA Jazz Master to pass away in 2020. In addition to the seminal Kind of Blue album, he was the drummer on Miles' Sketches of Spain, Someday My Prince Will Come, Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall, 1958 Miles, Jazz at the Plaza, ...

Jazz musicians silenced by coronavirus (updated)

Jazz musicians silenced by coronavirus (updated)

Here's a listing of jazz-related deaths from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), updated as we receive them. Our profound sympathies to their families, friends and fans as we remember the musical legacies they have given us. Argentina-born jazz saxophonist Marcelo Peralta, died in Madrid on March 10. He was 59. Peralta moved to Spain in 1996. Congolese singer Arlus Mabele, the king of soukous, an Afro-Caribbean dance rhythm similar to the rhumba, died March 19 in Paris. He was 66. New ...


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