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Bebo Valdes

March 22, 2013 4 comments

downloadRenowned Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes, a composer and bandleader who recorded with Nat “King” Cole, was musical director at Havana’s legendary Tropicana Club and a key participant in the golden age of Cuban music has died in Sweden at age 94.

The news of his death was confirmed by Cincy Byram, the agent of Valdes’ son Chuco Valdes, who is a well-known musician in his own right. A cause of death was not given. (Miamiherald.com)

In 1994 a CD, Bebo rides again, revived his career. In 2000, The film Calle 54 by Fernando Trueba brought his piano playing to a wide audience. In 2003 he and Diego El Cigala, a famous Spanish flamenco singer, recorded the album Lagrimas Negras, a fusion of Cuban rhythms and flamenco vocals. Valdés has won five Grammy Awards: two for El arte del sabor in 2002, one for Lagrimas Negras, and two for Bebo de Cuba in 2006 (in the categories “Best traditional tropical album” and “Best Latin jazz album”). In 2004 he was again filmed by Trueba, in El milagro de Candeal, in Brazil, and later composed a new score for Trueba’s 2010 film Chico and Rita, whose plot included bits from his own life.[3] Chico and Rita ends with the dedication “a bebo”.
Valdés was first married to Pilar Valdés. This marriage produced five children, one of whom is the pianist Chucho Valdés. In 1963 he married a Swedish woman and started a new family.
(Wikipedia.org)

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Terry Lightfoot

March 18, 2013 Leave a comment

terry lightfootThe Jazz musician and Band Leader Terry Lightfoot has died at the age of 77.

He had been suffering from Prostate Cancer and passed away on Friday 15th March 2013. (itv.com)

Terence Lightfoot was born at Potters Bar, Middlesex, on May 21 1935. After singing in a junior variety troupe at the age of nine, and briefly joining the town band as a junior cornettist, he taught himself the clarinet to take part in a jazz band being formed among his friends at Enfield Grammar School. On leaving school at 16, he attended a commercial college, followed by work as a junior reporter with the Barnet Press and in various clerical jobs. His main interest, however, was in playing jazz with the Wood Green Stompers, of which he was the leader.(Telegraph)

In 1955, he formed his band, the ‘Terry Lightfoot’s New Orleans Jazzmen’. They had three minor hit records in the UK Singles Chart in 1961 and 1962 with “True Love”, “King Kong” and “Tavern in the Town”.[3] The Jazzmen made regular appearances on Sunday nights at the Wood Green Jazz Club.(wikipedia.org)

Terry Lightfoot continued performing almost until the end of his life.

Melvin Rhyne dies at the age of 76

March 10, 2013 Leave a comment

melvin rhymesMelvin Rhyne, an organist best known for his work with guitar great Wes Montgomery, died March 5 in Indianapolis. Rhyne was 76. A cause of death was not revealed.
(jazztimes.com)

Melvin Rhyne was born in Indianapolis in 1936 and started playing the piano shortly thereafter. At 19 years old, Rhyne started playing piano with then-unknown tenor saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk but quickly switched over to the instrument that would make him famous: the Hammond B3 organ. Rhyne’s piano skills translated to the organ fluently and before long he was backing famous blues players like B.B. King and T-Bone Walker. In 1959 when he was asked to join fellow Indianapolis musician Wes Montgomery’s newly formed trio.
Rhyne then moved to Wisconsin and largely kept to himself for the next two decades. In 1991, however, Rhyne returned to the jazz scene, playing on Herb Ellis’ album Roll Call, Brian Lynch’s At the Main Event, and his own comeback The Legend. Rhyne continued to be prolific in the years to come, releasing eight more solo albums on the Criss Cross jazz label.

In 2008 Rhyne teamed up with fellow Indianapolis jazz musician Rob Dixon to form the Dixon-Rhyne Project, a boundary-pushing jazz quartet that also includes Chicago guitarist Fareed Haque and drummer Kenny Phelps.(wikipedia.org)

Kenny Ball

kennyI arranged the interview in january. I waited to long. Today I heard he is dead. Kenny Ball.

Trumpeter and bandleader Kenny Ball died in the early hours of this morning in hospital where he was being treated for pneumonia. He was 82, and was still performing until three weeks ago.

Radio 3’s Alyn Shipton says:

“With his ready grin, mop-haired appearance and upbeat singing and playing, Kenny Ball was one of the most extrovert and cheery figures in British entertainment. His chart-topping hits of the 1960s brought jazz to a huge audience, and he was a dazzlingly accomplished trumpeter, with one of the most developed techniques in jazz. Amid the bravura cadenzas were subtleties that passed many of his audience by, such as playing complex solos in unison with his clarinettist, and his high note range seemed so effortless that he made light of its difficulty. Britain has lost one its most charismatic bandleaders, and a figurehead of the “trad” movement. ” (LondonJazz: RIP Kenny Ball)

Kenneth Daniel Ball, 22nd May 1930, Ilford, Essex, died 7th March 2013

Ball was born in Ilford, Essex. He began his career as a semi-professional sideman in bands, whilst also working as a salesman and for an advertising agency. He played the trumpet in bands led by Charlie Galbraith, Sid Phillips, Eric Delaney and Terry Lightfoot before forming his own trad jazz band in 1958. His dixieland band was at the forefront of the early 1960s UK jazz revival.
In 1961 their recording of Cole Porter’s ‘Samantha’ became a hit, and in March 1962 they reached No. 2 on both the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and the UK Singles Chart, with “Midnight in Moscow”. The record sold over one million copies, earning gold disc status. Further hits ensued, including a version of ‘March of the Siamese Children’ from ‘The King and I’, which topped the pop music magazine, New Musical Express chart in March that year, and such was their popularity in the UK that Ball was featured, alongside Cliff Richard, Brenda Lee, Joe Brown, Craig Douglas and Frank Ifield, on the cover of the New Musical Express in July 1962, although in the U.S. they remained a ‘one-hit wonder’.
In January 1963, New Musical Express reported that the biggest trad jazz event to be staged in Britain had taken place at Alexandra Palace. The event included George Melly, Diz Disley, Acker Bilk, Chris Barber, Alex Welsh, Ken Colyer, Monty Sunshine, Bob Wallis, Bruce Turner, Mick Mulligan and Ball. The same year, Ball became the first British jazzman to become an honorary citizen of New Orleans,[4] and appeared in the 1963 film Live It Up!, featuring Gene Vincent.
In 1968 the band appeared with Louis Armstrong during his last European tour.[1] Ball later appeared on BBC Television’s highly rated review of the sixties music scene Pop Go The Sixties, performing “Midnight In Moscow” with his Jazzmen on the show broadcast on BBC 1, on January 1, 1970, and his continued success was aided by guest appearances on every edition of the first six series of the BBC’s Morecambe and Wise Show. He later claimed that the peak of his career was when Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen played at the reception for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. (wikipedia.org)

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