Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Horace Parlan 1931 - 2017

By Dead Obituary
Horace Parlan was born on January 19, 1931, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
and died on February 23, 2017, Korsør, Denmark.
He was an American hard bop and post-bop piano player.
Parlan was best known for his contributions to the Charles Mingus recordings Mingus Ah Um and Blues & Roots.
During his early years, Horace was stricken with polio, resulting in the partial crippling of his right hand.
Because of his handicap which contributed to his development of a particularly “pungent” left-hand chord voicing style, while coping with highly rhythmic phrases with the right.
From 1952 and 1957, Horace worked in Washington DC with Sonny Stitt and then spent two years with Mingus’ Jazz Workshop.
During 1973, he relocated to Copenhagen, Denmark. He later settled in the small village of Rude in southern Zealand/Denmark.
Parlan completed a State Department tour of Africa with Hal Singer, in 1974.
Horace Parlan’s later work, such as a series of duos with the tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp, included the album Goin’ Home, was steeped in gospel music.
He was awarded the 2000 Ben Webster Prize awarded by the Ben Webster Foundation.
Horace Parlan passed away at 86 years old.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Larry Coryell 1943 - 2017

By Kory Grow
Larry Coryell, one of jazz fusion's pioneering guitarists, died Sunday in his New York City hotel room of natural causes, according to his publicist. He had played gigs on Friday and Saturday night at the city's Iridium club and had a spate of summer tour dates on the horizon with his group the Eleventh House. He was 73.
"We are the frequency to do the opposite of Donald Trump," guitarist says of band featuring jazz legends Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter.
In the mid-to-late Sixties, Coryell broke down genre barriers with his eclectic, fluid playing and experiments with melding plodding rock rhythms with spacious jazz chords. His breakthrough, 1969's Spaces, featured a who's who of the nascent fusion genre's innovators, including guitarist John McLaughlin, pianist Chick Corea and drummer Billy Cobham – all of whom would play on Miles Davis' landmark 1970 fusion LP Bitches Brew. He would later play with McLaughlin again in the Guitar Trio, an ensemble that also featured Paco DeLucia and would later include Al DiMeola after Coryell was forced to exit due to drug addiction.
Coryell was born on April 2nd, 1943 in Galveston, Texas, but grew up in the Seattle area. He began playing piano at age four and picked up the guitar as a teenager, drawing influence from both Chet Atkins and Chuck Berry. He studied the instrument through college and eventually moved to New York City, where he took classical guitar lessons.
"What sparked me to getting into the guitar was the mobility of the instrument – I had been taking piano lessons, but the piano, although a great instrument, was large, staid, and kind of 'establishment,' whereas the guitar was portable … like a poor man's piano, and that appealed to me," he once said in an interview with Musicguy247. "The seminal 'event' to get me serious about playing the guitar was when, as a teenager, I heard somebody my own age play very well. Even though it was rock & roll, the guy displayed great skill and musicality. So, for me, if he could do that, then maybe I could as well."
In 1966, he formed a psychedelic group, the Free Spirits, in which he also sang and played sitar, while also dabbling in jazz. His musical career led to him tour with Cream frontman Jack Bruce and to record with vibraphonist Gary Burton and flautist Herbie Mann, and he made his recorded debut on Chico Hamilton's The Dealer. In addition to Eleventh House, which he formed in 1973, he also played with the group Foreplay (not to be confused with the later Fourplay).
Coryell put out dozens of solo and ensemble releases throughout the Seventies up through the present day, recording alongside Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, Kenny Barron and Stéphane Grapelli, among others. He had re-formed Eleventh House around the time of his death.
He'd put out a new album, Barefoot Man: Sanpaku, last October, according to Billboard, and a new Eleventh House full-length, Seven Secrets, will come out June 2nd. He'd also recently worked on operatic adaptations of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace and Anna Karenina, as well as James Joyce's Ulysses.
NPR reports that Coryell is survived by his wife, Tracey, daughters Annie and Allegra, sons Murali and Julian, and six grandchildren. A memorial service is scheduled to be held at New York City's SGI-USA Buddhist temple on Friday, according to Billboard.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Al Jarreau 1940 - 2017

By Britni Danielle, February 12, 2017
Just days after announcing that he was retiring from touring after being hospitalized for exhaustion, legendary jazz singer Al Jarreau passed away Sunday morning in Los Angeles.
The singer’s manager, Joe Gordon, released a statement–which was shared with EBONY by reporter Darlene Hill–about the singer’s death.
Dear friends, family and colleagues,
Al Jarreau passed away this morning, at about 5:30am LA time. He was in the hospital, kept comfortable by Ryan, Susan, and a few of his family and friends.
Ryan and Susan will hold a small, private service at home, for immediate family only. No public service is planned yet, but I will inform you if that changes.
Ryan asks that no flowers or gifts are send to their home or office. Instead, if you are motivated to do so, please make a contribution to the Wisconsin Foundation for School Music, a wonderful organization which supports music opportunities, teachers, and scholarships for students in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin. A donation page is here. Even if you do not plan to contribute, please list that page and give yourself a few minutes to watch a beautiful tribute video that Wisconsin Public Television produced to honor Al when he received his lifetime achievement award in October.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Jarreau’s unique singing style helped to make him one of jazz’s greatest vocalists. During college, where he received a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology, Jarreau performed with a local group called The Indigos before moving to San Francisco. There he hooked up with fellow jazz great George Duke to form a trio.
Inspired to pursue music full time, Jarreau moved south to Los Angeles, where he caught the eye of Warner Bros. talent scouts, who signed the singer to a recording contract. In Los Angeles, Jarreau’s career would take off after the release of his critically acclaimed debut album We Got By. In 1977, Jarreau would win his first of seven Grammy Awards for his live album, Look to the Rainbow.
Dubbed “the voice of versatility” by the Chicago Tribune, Jarreau released 16 studio albums, a host of live albums, and several compilations. The consummate performer, Jarreau constantly toured the world, dazzling audiences with his magical voice.
Jarreau passed away at a Los Angeles hospital early Sunday morning. The singer leaves behind his wife, Susan, and his son, Ryan. He was 76.