In Memoriam

As 2011 comes to a close, I’d like to take some time to remember some of the great contributors to jazz that passed away in 2011. Here is a short list of some of the wonderful musicians we lost over the last year.

Charles Fambrough, 60

Bassist Charles Fambrough died on January 1, 2011. He had been ill for last few years, battling end stage renal disease, congestive heart failure and pulmonary hypertension. He had been receiving dialysis treatments as well. He was 60 years old at the time of his death. Read the full article at

George Shearing, 91

George Shearing, the elegant pianist who expanded the boundaries of jazz by adding an orchestral sensibility and a mellow aesthetic to the music, has died. He was 91. Shearing died Monday of congestive heart failure at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, said his manager, Dale Sheets. Shearing had not performed publicly since taking a fall at his New York City apartment in 2004, but he continued playing piano. Read the full article at

Joe Morello, 82

Joe Morello, a jazz drummer whose elegant, economical playing in the Dave Brubeck Quartet sounded natural and effortless even in unusual time signatures, died on Saturday at his home in Irvington, N.J. He was 82. His death was announced on his Web site, No cause was given. Read the full article at

Snooky Young, 92

Snooky Young, an ageless jazz trumpeter who kept performing almost until his final breath, has died in California at the age of 92. Mr. Young began performing in the 1930s and was one of the last survivors from the Age of Swing still performing. He may be best known today for his long tenure in Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show band led by Doc Severinsen. Read the full article at

Gil Scott-Heron, 62

Gil Scott-Heron died Friday afternoon in New York, his book publisher reported. He was 62. The influential poet and musician is often credited with being one of the progenitors of hip-hop, and is best known for the spoken-word piece “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Read the full article at

Ray Bryant, 79

Ray Bryant, a jazz pianist whose sensitivity and easy authority made him a busy accompanist and a successful solo artist, beginning in the mid-1950s, died on Thursday. He was 79. His wife of 20 years, Claude Bryant, said he died at New York Hospital Queens after a long illness. He lived in Jackson Heights, Queens. Read the full article at

Frank Foster, 82

Frank Foster, the saxophonist and composer best known for his 1953-64 tenure with the Count Basie Orchestra, died yesterday, July 26, in Chesapeake, Va. The cause of death was kidney failure. Foster, who was honored with an NEA Jazz Master award in 2002, was 82. Read the full article at

Pete Rugolo, 95

Pete Rugolo, an award-winning composer and arranger who came to prominence in the world of jazz as the chief arranger for Stan Kenton’s post-World War II band and later wrote the themes for TV’s “The Fugitive” and “Run for Your Life,” has died. He was 95. Rugolo, who also had a recording career with his own band, died Sunday of age-related causes at a nursing facility in Sherman Oaks,said his daughter, Gina Rugolo Judd. Read the full article at

Paul Motian, 80

Paul Motian, a drummer, bandleader, composer and one of the most influential jazz musicians of the last 50 years, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. He was 80 and lived in Manhattan. The cause was complications of myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood and bone-marrow disorder, said his niece, Cindy McGuirl. Read the full article at

Bob Brookmeyer, 82

Bob Brookmeyer, who left a distinctive mark on jazz as a musician, composer, arranger and educator whose students included many of today’s leading jazz arrangers and bandleaders, died on Thursday in New London, N.H., four days before his 82nd birthday. The cause was cardiopulmonary arrest, said his wife, Janet. Read the full article at

Sam Rivers, 88

The jazz saxophonist, flutist and composer passed away on Wednesday from pneumonia. He worked with Miles Davis, Billie Holiday and T. Bone Walker, and played an essential role in the abstract and avant-garde jazz movement. Hear the full story at




1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (811-820)

Here is another 10 to add to the list.

Remember that there is no ranking system here, and if you don’t see your favorite jazz album yet, it doesn’t mean it won’t show up.

Hopefully these lists will inspire you to seek some of these albums out that perhaps you haven’t heard before, or revisit an old favorite. And as always, we want your thoughts on any or all of these albums. Either way, let’s get started with this week, and in no particular order, albums 811 through 820.

811. Stable Mable – Dexter Gordon (SteepleChase, 1975) CLICK HERE TO BUY

812. Three Stories – Eldar Djangirov (Masterworks Jazz, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

813. At Mister Kelly’s – Sarah Vaughan (Verve, 1957) CLICK HERE TO BUY

814. Watermelon Man – Mongo Santamaria (Milestone Records, 1963) CLICK HERE TO BUY

815. Diz and Getz – Dizzy Gillespie (Verve, 1955) CLICK HERE TO BUY

816. Tune-Up! – Sonny Stitt (Muse, 1972) CLICK HERE TO BUY

817. Strange Fruit (Crown Collection Compilation) – Billie Holiday (2000 compilation release date) CLICK HERE TO BUY

818. Crusaders 1 – The Crusaders (MCA, 1972) CLICK HERE TO BUY

819. Like Minds – Chick Corea (Concord Jazz, 1998) CLICK HERE TO BUY

820. Somewhere in France – Ray Bryant (Label M, 2000 release date) CLICK HERE TO BUY

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (801-810)

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die – The First 750

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die – The First 500