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Marlene VerPlanck Is Gone

Marlene VerPlanck Is Gone

From New York comes news that the singer Marlene VerPlanck died today at 84. She reportedly had pancreatic cancer but managed to keep the illness a secret from nearly everyone. Beginning in the 1960s Ms. VerPlanck worked closely with her husband Billy as a studio musician, singing in commercial jingles. In the 1970s she began singing ...

Marlene VerPlanck (1933-2018)

Marlene VerPlanck (1933-2018)

Marlene VerPlanck, a polished jazz vocalist who began her recording career in 1955, had a strong second career in the 1960s and '70s as a prolific jingle singer, sang backup on Frank Sinatra's Trilogy album and had a third career recently as she toured and performed to critical praise, died January 14. She was 84. Despite ...

Maurice Peress, 1930-2017

Maurice Peress, 1930-2017

Maurice Peress, a conductor who served as a link between jazz and classical music, died at his home in New York. He was 87. Peress collaborated with Duke Ellington in preparing the composer’s 1943 “Black, Brown And Beige” for performance by a symphony orchestra. He also worked closely with New YorkPhilharmonic conductor Leonard Bernstein in adapting ...

Keely Smith (1929-2017)

Keely Smith (1929-2017)

Keely Smith, a vocalist best known in the 1950s at nightclubs and on TV as the stone-faced half of a husband-and-wife comic duo in which she impatiently waited out and mocked the rubbery crooning style of mate Louis Prima before delivering a sincere pop rendition of her own, died on December 16. She was 89. After ...

Jeter Thompson 1930 - 2017

Jeter Thompson 1930 - 2017

Pianist Jeter Thompson, whose leadership of the groups Quartette Trés Bien and Trio Trés Bien made him a significant figure on the St. Louis jazz scene from the Gaslight Square era into the 21st century, died on Friday, December 1. He was 87 years old. Born in St. Louis on March 16, 1930, Thompson started playing ...

Beverley Thorne (1924-2017)

Beverley Thorne (1924-2017)

Beverley “David" Thorne, the last of the Case Study architects and the designer of Dave and Iola Brubeck's modernist California and Connecticut homes, died December 6 in Sonoma, Calif. He was 93. Bev's death was confirmed yesterday by architect, colleague and long-time friend Paul Wood, who said from France that Bev was admitted to the hospital ...

Mundell Lowe (1922-2017)

Mundell Lowe (1922-2017)

Mundell Lowe, an impeccable jazz guitarist, arranger and talent scout who recorded on many important East Coast jazz albums and introduced Bill Evans to Riverside producer Orrin Keepnews in the mid-1950s, died on December 2. He was 95. Few guitarists played with as many jazz greats as Mundy. The list includes Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Billie ...

Mundell Lowe, 1922-2017

Mundell Lowe, 1922-2017

Guitarist Mundell Lowe died today. He was 95. Lowe’s career began at 13 when he frequently went from his home in Laurel, Mississippi, to work at clubs in New Orleans’ French Quarter. After service in World War Two, he honed his bebop skills and became one of New York’s busiest guitarists. He worked with a cross-section ...

Jon Hendricks, George Avakian: RIP

Jon Hendricks, George Avakian: RIP

We can be thankful today that Jon Hendricks and George Avakian made so many important contributions to jazz during their long lives. Both died in New York yesterday. Hendricks was 96. Avakian was 98. Jon Hendricks, Dave Lambert and Annie Ross formed the vocal group Lambert, Hendricks and Ross for their album Sing A Song Of ...

Jon Hendricks (1921-2017)

Jon Hendricks (1921-2017)

Jon Hendricks, a singer, songwriter and lyricist who pioneered vocalese—the art of crafting words to famed jazz solos—and was a co-founder of the vocal group Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, died November 22. He was 96. Jon died on the same day as producer George Avakian. I interviewed Jon in 2009 for JazzWax. Here is my complete ...