The ‘Lion of the Blues’ Bobby Blue Bland dies

Credit wikipedia
Credit wikipedia

Known as the “Lion of the Blues” or the “Sinatra of the Blues,” for his ability to sing smooth ballads as well as shout the low-down blues, Bobby Blue Bland started singing gospel in Memphis.

He joined the group called the Beale Streeters, whose members at various times included of B.B. King, Rosco Gordon and Johnny Ace.

Bland served as B.B. King’s chauffeur and valet for a time, and then had a hit R&B single with “Farther Up the Road” in 1957.  He would go on to have 50 other singles charting  in the R&B Top 40. Bland was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

Bobby Blue Bland died Sunday, June 23.  He was 83.

Richie Havens Dead at 72

(Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

Folk/Rock singer, songwriter and guitarist Richie Havens reportedly passed away today at the age of 72. Havens was perhaps best known for his three-hour opening set at the Woodstock Festival in 1969.

Over the course of his career, Havens recorded 21 studio albums and toured for nearly 45 years, until last year when he was sidelined with complications from kidney surgery.

While not someone who would be classified as a jazz musician, Havens was the first musician I ever saw at Jazz Alley in Seattle (prom night, 1997). He closed with a solo version of his famed “Freedom (Motherless Child)”, a performance I will not soon forget.

The announcement from Havens’ representatives, The Roots Agency:

Richie Havens was gifted with one of the most recognizable voices in popular music. His fiery, poignant, soulful singing style has remained unique and ageless since his historic appearance at Woodstock in 1969. For four decades, Havens used his music to convey passionate messages of brotherhood and personal freedom. Billboard Magazine writes, “This acoustic soul giant truly seems to be getting more inspiring and graceful with age.” From Woodstock to The Isle of Wight to Glastonbury to the Fillmore Auditorium to Royal Albert Hall to Carnegie Hall, Richie played the most legendary music festivals that ever were, and most of the world’s greatest concert venues. But even when performing in a Greenwich Village coffeehouse or a small club or regional theater, he was eternally grateful that people in any number turned up each time to hear him sing. More than anything, he feels incredibly blessed to have met so many of you along the way.

Legendary jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd has died, says nephew

The Guardian reports that legendary trumpeter Donald Byrd has died, according to the nephew of Byrd.

According to the article, the nephew says that he died on Monday in Delaware, where Byrd lived. Here is more from the article:

The influential jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd died on Monday at the age of 80, his nephew has said.

Alex Bugnon, a jazz pianist, reported his uncle’s death on Thursday, though it has yet to be confirmed.

Bugnon wrote on his own Facebook page: “Donald passed away Monday in Delaware, where he lived. His funeral will be held in Detroit sometime next week. I have no more patience for this unnecessary shroud of secrecy placed over his death by certain members of his immediate family.”


Montreux Jazz Festival founder Claude Nobs dies

Associated Press

Claude Nobs, the founder and general manager of the Montreux Jazz Festival, whose passion for music and artistry introduced generations of legendary musicians to international audiences on the Swiss stage, has died. He was 76.

The Jazz Festival said Nobs, a native of Montreux, died Thursday after sustaining injuries from a fall while cross-country skiing in nearby Caux-sur-Montreux on Christmas Eve. He was taken to the hospital and fell into a coma from which he never recovered.

Nobs worked his way from being a chef and director of Montreux’s tourism office, where he organized charity concerts, to overseeing one of the most iconic music festivals in the world.

On its website, the festival said Nobs’ death came by “surprise as if to remind us once more, that in life as in music, each great performance could be the last one even if the show must go on.”

A visit to the New York offices of Atlantic Records led to the first festival in his home city in June 1967, featuring musicians such as Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette.

The festival was an overnight success, building over the decades on Nobs’ passion for jazz, as much as his gumption and contacts abroad.