On October 16, 1969, Lejzor Szmuel Czyż aka Leonard Chess died aged 52. He was a record company executive and the co-founder of Chess Records, home to John Lee Hooker, Little Walter, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, The Moonglows, The Flamingos, Jimmy Reed, and Sonny Boy Williamson. He was influential in the development of rock and roll, electric blues, and the Chicago blues scene.
On May 24, 2020, Wilbur James Cobb died aged 91. He was musician (drums), one of the most influential and respected drummers in Jazz music. He has recorded and performed with many musicians including Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Dinah Washington, Pearl Bailey, Clark Terry, Cannonball Adderley, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Wynton Kelly, Stan Getz, Wes Montgomery, Art Pepper, Gil Evans, Paul Chambers, Kenny Burrell, J. J. Johnson, Sonny Stitt, Nat Adderley, Phil Upchurch, Benny Golson, Hank Jones, Ron Carter, George Coleman, Fathead Newman, Geri Allen, Earl Bostic, Leo Parker, Charlie Rouse, Ernie Royal, Philly Joe Jones, Bobby Timmons, Walter Booker, Jerome Richardson, Joey DeFrancesco, Keter Betts, Jimmy Cleveland, Sam Jones, Red Garland, Joe Henderson, Eddie Gómez, Bill Evans, Jeremy Steig, Richard Wyands, Peter Bernstein, Walter Bishop, Jr., Richie Cole, Nancy Wilson, Ricky Ford, David Amram, Donald Byrd, Kenny Barron and Toshiko Akiyoshi. Cobb recorded 17 albums as a leader.
On May 9, 2020, Richard Wayne Penniman aka Little Richard died aged 87. He was singer, songwriter and musician (piano), one of the most important and influential persons in the popular music. His charismatic showmanship and dynamic music, characterized by frenetic piano playing, pounding back beat and raspy shouted vocals, laid the foundation for rock and roll, but also had important role in formation of other music genres such as soul and funk. For his work Little Richard received numerous awards and was honored by many institutions. In 1986, he was inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”; in 1993 he received “Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award”, he was inducted into the “Songwriters Hall of Fame”, received “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the “Recording Academy”; “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the “Rhythm and Blues Foundation”, and received a “Rhapsody & Rhythm Award” from the “National Museum of African American Music”. In 2012, his song “Tutti Frutti” was included in the “National Recording Registry” of the “Library of Congress”, stated that his “unique vocalizing over the irresistible beat announced a new era in music”. Three of his songs “Tutti Frutti,” “Lucille” and “Long Tall Sally” are inducted into the “Grammy Hall of Fame”.
On April 20, 2012, Herbert Maurice William ‘Bert’ Weedon died aged 91. He was musician (guitar), whose style of playing was popular and influential during the 50s and 60s. Weedon was the first British guitarist to have a hit record in the “UK Singles Chart”, in 1959. His “Play in a Day” guitar guide influenced some of the biggest names in rock and roll such as Eric Clapton, Brian May, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Dave Davies, Keith Richards, Pete Townshend, Tony Iommi and Jimmy Page. For his “services to music”, in 2001, Weedon was awarded an OBE.
On March 6, 2020, Alfred McCoy Tyner died aged 81. He was composer, bandleader and pianist, one of the most recognizable and influential in jazz history. He has recorded and performed with many famous musicians including John Coltrane, Art Blakey, Donald Byrd, George Benson, Art Farmer, Lou Donaldson, Benny Golson, Grant Green, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Milt Jackson, J.J. Jackson, Blue Mitchell, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, David Murray, Julian Priester, Sonny Rollins, Ron Carter, Al Foster, Avery Sharpe, Woody Shaw, Jackie McLean, Cecil McBee, Jack DeJohnette, Wayne Shorter, Sonny Stitt and Stanley Turrentine, As a leader he recorded 74 albums. Tyner was a “NEA Jazz Master” and a five-time “Grammy” winner.
On December 26, 1999, Curtis Lee Mayfield died aged 57. He was composer, singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer, regarded as one of the most influential musicians and composers in soul and politically conscious African-American music. He started the career in a gospel choir, gained wide recognition as member and main composer of The Impressions, and later had a successful solo career. “Rolling Stone” magazine ranked his 1965 song “People Get Ready” at number 24 on its list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. The same song was also included in the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll”, and in 1998 was inducted into the “Grammy Hall of Fame”. His album with the soundtrack for the 1972 movie “Super Fly” was ranked at number 72 on “Rolling Stone’s” list of “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”. In 1994, Mayfield won a “Grammy Legend Award” in and a “Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award” in 1995. In 1991, he was inductee into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” as a member of the Impressions, and in 1999 as a solo artist.
On September 5, 2017, Holger Czukay died aged 79. He was musician, music producer, recording engineer, best known as co-founder and member of Can, one of the most influential and important music groups in the music history. Studied under Karlheinz Stockhausen, Czukay is regarded as one of the pioneers of ambient music, early pioneer of sampling and one of the first explorers of “world music”, long before the term was coined. He has released eleven solo albums, and has collaborated with the likes of Conny Plank, The Edge, Jah Wobble, David Sylvian, Ben Mandelson, Dr. Walker, U-She, Ursa Major and Bob Humid.
On April 16, 2017, Allan Holdsworth died aged 70. He was guitarist and composer, known as big innovator in development of the guitar playing. He was one of the most influential guitarists of the 20th Century, cited as influence by many famous guitarists such as Tom Morello, Yngwie Malmsteen, Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Greg Howe, Shawn Lane, Richie Kotzen, John Petrucci, Alex Lifeson and Kurt Rosenwinkel. In his four decades long career he released twelve albums as solo artists, and has recorded and performed with many famous musicians and bands including Igginbottom, Nucleus, Tempest, Soft Machine, The New Tony Williams Lifetime, Pierre Moerlen’s Gong, Jean-Luc Ponty, Bruford, U.K., Stanley Clarke, Chad Wackerman, Level 42 and K². According to “Guitar World” magazine he is “as influential as Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen”.
On July 3, 1971, James Douglas “Jim” Morrison, died aged 27. He was a singer, songwriter, and poet, best known as the lead singer of The Doors. His poetic odes to rebellion, his charismatic, wild personality, and his mysterious death made him one of the most legendary, Influential, and best-loved rock artists of all times. On the “Rolling Stone” magazine list of “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” Morrison was ranked 47.