On February 2010, Henry Gray died aged 95. He was musician (piano) and singer, credited as one of the creators of the distinctive sound of the Chicago blues piano. In his seven decades long career he performed with many artists including Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Robert Lockwood Jr., Billy Boy Arnold, Morris Pejoe and The Rolling Stones. As leader Gray released more than 50 albums. In 2017, he was inducted into the “Blues Hall of Fame”.
On February 9, 2020, Armando Anthony “Chick” Corea died aged 79. He was musician (piano, keyboards, percussion), composer and bandleader. He is regarded as one of the major piano players to emerge in jazz during the post-John Coltrane era. Recorded and performed with the most important Jazz musicians including Miles Davis, Mongo Santamaria, Willie Bobo, Blue Mitchell, Herbie Mann, Stan Getz, Roy Haunes, Miroslav Vitous, Stanley Clarke, Richard Davis, Joe Farrell, Joe Henderson, Eric Kloss, Hubert Laws, Herbie Mann, Blue Mitchell, John Patitucci, Wayne Shorter, Cal Tjader, Sonny Stitt, Dave Pike, Armando Peraza, Marion Brown, Sadao Watanabe, Larry Coryell, John Surman, Elvin Jones, Rolf Kühn, Airto Moreira, Antony Braxton, Pete La Roca, Al Di Meola, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ron Carter, Gábor Szabó, Donald Byrd, Tete Montoliu, Chaka Khan, Eddie Gomez, Wallace Rooney, Herbie Hancock, Antonio Sanches, Gary Burton and Hiromi Uehara. Corea formed and lead Return to Forever, Circle, Chick Corea Elektric Band, Chick Corea Akoustic Band and Five Peace Band. As leader he released 77 studio and 23 live albums. Corea won 23 “Grammy Awards”.
On January 16, 2021, Julian Clifford Mance, Jr. aka Junior Mance died aged 92. He was musician (piano) and composer, one of the main figures of the Hard bop jazz scene. He recorded and performed with some of the biggest names of jazz, blues and soul music including Gene Amons, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Sonny Stitt, Dinah Washington, Wynton Kelly, Cannonball Adderley, Dexter Gordon, Nat Adderley, Joe Gordon, Bennie Green, Al Grey, Ernie Andrews, Johnny Griffin, Art Blakey, Cliford Brown, Benny Carter, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Cleveland, Arnett Cobb, Red Holloway, Jose James, Ray Crawford, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Eddie Jefferson, Aretha Franklin, Etta Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, Irene Kral, Jay Leonhart, Les McCann, Paul Gonsalves, Howard McGhee, The Metronomes, Virgil Gonsalves, James Moody, Wild Bill Moore, Barbara Morrison, Sandy Mosse, Leo Parker, Ken Peplowski, Billie Poole, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, Alvin Queen, Jimmy Scott, Arnold Sterling, Sonny Stitt, Clark Terry, Frank Vignola, Wilbur Ware, Ben Webster, Joe Williams, Marion Williams, and Leo Wright. As leader, Monce released 56 albums (live and studio). In 2007, Mance and his wife Gloria started their own record label “JunGlo”.
On January 16, 2021, Harvey Phillip Spector died aged 81. He was musician (guitar, piano), vocalist, songwriter and music producer. He developed music production “Wall of Sound”, he described as “Wagnerian approach to rock and roll”. Spector started the music career as member of the band Teddy Bears, at age of 21 he co-founded “Philles Records” and became the youngest ever US label owner to that point. In the 60’s he wrote songs or produced music for The Ronettes, The Crystals, Ike & Tina Turner, produced Beatles album “Let It Be”, and few solo John Lennon and George Harrison recordings. He also worked with Leonard Cohen, Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, Darlene Love, Ronnie Spector, The Wrecking Crew, The Righteous Brothers, and The Ramones. In 1973 Spector won “Grammy Award for Album of the Year” for co-producing Harrison’s “Concert for Bangladesh”, in 1989 he was inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”, and in 1997 he was inducted into the “Songwriters Hall of Fame”. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at number 63 on their list of “The Greatest Artists in History”.In 2009, he was convicted for the 2003 murder of the actress Lana Clarkson and sentenced to 19 years to life in prison, where he died.
On December 6, 1949, Huddie William Ledbetter aka Lead Belly died aged 61. He was musician (guitar, piano, mandolin, harmonica, violin, windjammer), regarded as one of the pioneers of the blues and folk music. His songs covered a wide range of genres including folk, blues, and gospel, some of them like “Goodnight, Irene”, “Midnight Special”, “Cotton Fields”, and “Boll Weevil” became standards, and influenced generations of musicians. In 1988, Lead Belly was posthumously inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”, and in 2008 in the “Louisiana Music Hall of Fame”.
On July 22, 2019, Arthur Lanon Neville died aged 81. He was singer, musician (piano, keyboards) and songwriter, a founding member of The Meters, co-founder of The Neville Brothers, and founding member of The Funky Meters. He performed and recorded with Paul McCartney, Lee Dorsey, Robert Palmer, Professor Longhair, and Labelle. Neville received three “Grammy Awards”.
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 23, 2012, John Christopher “Chris” Ethridge died aged 65. He was musician (bass, piano), member of International Submarine Band and The Flying Burrito Brothers. He has worked with Gram Parsons, Nancy Sinatra, Judy Collins, Leon Russell, Delaney Bramlett, Bill Withers, Johnny Winter, Randy Newman, Ry Cooder, Linda Ronstadt, Gene Clark, The Byrds, John Prine, Johnny Rivers, Jackson Browne, Arlo Guthrie, The Doors, Graham Nash and Willie Nelson.