Final Bar – Artist that we lost in 2015

Ornette halo

Ornette Coleman. Photo by Sánta István Csaba

Hundreds of notable and esteemed jazz, blues and “creative music” instrumentalists, vocalists and people involved with those arts in other significant ways died in 2015. Here is a list with links to the deceased, compiled for the Jazz Journalists Association from sources including local newspapers,, the Jazzinstitut Darmstadt newsletter,, Wikipedia, the New York Times,, Rolling Stone, Variety,, blogs, listserves, Facebook pages and European publications. Links to their fuller biographers or obituaries are provided where possible.


Accordionists Ernie Felice, Walter Kühr; accordionist and composer Jean Corti;

Arranger, composer, educator, woodwinds player and singer Jerry Nowak; arranger, conductor, big band leader and trumpeter Ivan Jullien;

B-3 organ players Eddy Louiss, Bobby Watley;

Banjo players Dave Frey, Bob Sundstrom;

Bassists Erik Amundsen, Lenny Boyd, Lloyd Buchanan, Ron Crotty, Hal Gaylor, Coleridge Goode, Tim Ingles, Louis Johnson, Reinhard “Django” Kroll, Bruce Lawrence, Carl Lindberg, Mike Porcaro, Hugo Rasmussen, Jack Six, Jean Warland, Bob Whitlock, bassist Noah Young (aka Richard Youngstein); bassist and educator John Springer; bassist, bandleader, club operator and educator Howard Rumsey; bassists and tuba players John Cole, Lee Westenhofer; bassist and pianist John Endicott Hart; bassist and recording engineer Gary Marker;

Bassoonist Daniel Smith;

Big band leader, bassist, composer and arranger James Last; big band leader, composer, arranger and pianist Van Alexander; bassist, composer and producer Lothar Meid;

Clarinetist, writer and photographer Simon Flem Devold; clarinetist and educator Joe Torregano; clarinetists and bandleaders Sándor Benkó, Dal Richards.

Composers Roy Bennett, Sid Tepper; composer and lyricist Ervin Drake; composer, singer and poet Rod McKuen; composer and singer Don Covay; composers and pianists John Eaton, Tom McKinley; composer, bandleader and valve trombonist Gerasimos Lavranos; composer, arranger, musical director and accordionist Milton Delugg; composer and arranger Michael “Mickey” Leonard; composer and journalist Fernando Brant; composer, conductor, musicologist, writer, French horn player, educator and NEA Jazz Master Gunther Schuller; composer, producer, bandleader and pianist Raphy Leavitt; composer, conductor and trumpeter André Waignein; composer and conductor John Duffy;

Cornetist and bandleader Steve Lane;

Drummers Jim Alkire, Archie Alleyne, “Killer” Ray Appleton, Jack Arseneaux, Joe Basile, Allan Browne, George Cariote, Carlos Carli, Jerome Cooper, Keith Copeland, Dick Gail, Harry Hach, Gavino Jiminez, Joseph “Smokey” Johnson, Corey Jones, Isham “Rusty” Jones, Hal Mead, René Nan, Phil Newsum, Danny Noonan, Mac Poole, Richie Pratt, Ted Reinhardt, Doudou N’diaye Rose, Tommy Ruskin, Stanley C. Swann III, Alice Whyte; drummers and record producers Rudi Martini, Peter Schmidlin; drummer, singer and guitarist Augusta Lee Collins;

Experimental music collagist, vocalist and broadcaster Don Joyce;

Fiddler Johnny Gimble;

Guembri player and gnawa pioneer Mahmoud Guinia;

Guitarists Daevid Allen, Jón Páll Bjarnason, Thomas Buhé, Manfred Dierkes, Bruno Engler, Roy Ferguson, Edgar Froese, Jeff Golub, Doug Gregg, Clarrie Henley, Jørgen Ingmann, Ivinho, Tony Jenkins, Bill Lezotte, Steve Moore, Peter Nieuwerf, Rusty Paul, John Renbourn, Slim Richey, Pete Roberts (aka “Little Joe”), Arthur Wright; guitarist, singer and songwriter Pino Daniele; guitarist, banjoist and violinist Neil Levang; guitarists and educators Garrison Fewell, Tom Giacabetti, Ray Ross; guitarist and bandleader Johnny Polanco; guitarists and singers Don Griffin, Peggy Jones (aka “Lady Bo”); guitarist and actor Belugo Carámbula;

Harmonica player Harry Pitch; harmonica player, guitarist and politician Collins Chabane;

Harpist Susan Allen;

Keyboardists Guy LeBlanc, Alan Watson; keyboardist and producer Ethan White;

Multi-instrumentalist and singer Lenny McDaniel; multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger and educator Bob Hays; multi-instrumentalist and composer Erik Lindström;

Pedal steel guitarist Buddy Emmons;

Percussionist Raul Rekow; percussionist and composer Luis “Tata” Guerra; percussionist and music organizer Jay Serrett; percussionist and bandleader Papo Angarica; percussion instrument maker and timpanist Vic Firth; percussionist, composer and educator Jean Batigne;

Pianists Bob Allen, Rosemary Alter, Paul Bisch, Bunk Burgwin, David Carter Jr., Joe Cavallaro, Madhav Chari, Donna Davis, Sam Dockery, Ron DuPont, Silvano Grandi, Stan Hunter, Don Innes, Rudolf Jaggi, Orville Johnson, Ray Kennedy, Masabumi Kikuchi, Yasko Kubota, Norman Kubrin, Corky McClerkin, Howie McDonald, Patrick McElligott, Raf Robertson, Mickie “Red” Roquemore, Ralph Sharon, Lee Shaw, Carol Solenberger, Sandy Taylor; pianist, violinist, singer and composer Terri Spencer Mersereau; pianist, conductor and educator Steve Zegree; pianist and arrangers Louie Cruz, Roland Schneider; pianist and booking executive Sam Distefano; pianists and bandleaders Marty Napoleon, Confrey Phillips, Guillermo Rubalcaba; pianist, singer and trombonist Juan Carlos Cáceres; pianist, bandleader and educator Don Scaletta; pianist, singer and broadcaster Wolfgang Sauer; pianists and educators Eric Doney, Bob Murphy, Joerg Reiter, John Taylor; pianist and entrepreneur Karl Wlaschek; pianist, producer and arranger Emmanuel Riggins; pianist, composer and educator Don Hurless; pianist, clarinetist, saxophonist and educator Herbie Hess; pianist, composer and producer Vanja Lisak; pianist and steel band leader Russell Henderson; pianist and club owner “Papa Joe” Buschmann; pianist, arranger and conductor Kjell Öhman; pianist, producer, songwriter and singer Allen Toussaint;

Saxophonists Harold Battiste, Al Block, Buddy Boudreaux, Leon Cohen, Hulon Crayton, Duane Feeley, Wilton Felder, Max Greger, John Gumpper, Ove Johansson, Merle Knudson, Heinz Kretzschmar, Steve Mackay, Zane Musa, Harold Ousley, Don Rendell, Earl S. Ross, W?odzimierz Szyma?ski, Ted Thompson, Toni Tudd, Robert Veen, Norbert Vollath, Murray Wald, Ray Warleigh, George Zinsser, Dadet Zongbe; saxophonists and educators Emerson Able Jr., Willie Akins,George Bouchard, David Bournazian, Mark Gatz, Paul Jeffrey, Brent Majors, Rainer Minarik; saxophonists, bandleaders, composers and NEA Jazz Masters Ornette Coleman, Phil Woods; saxophonist, pianist, composer and producer Lucia Huergo; saxophonist, composer, TV music director and educator Robert Drasnin; saxophonist, arranger, composer, bandleader, producer, historian and writer Bob Belden; saxophonist, bandleader and arranger Ambros Seelos; saxophonist and bandleader Dieter Antritter; saxophonist big band leader, arranger and educator Bill Jupp; saxophonist, composer and arranger Milt Kleeb;

Singers Zayn Adam, Alisa Anderson aka Alisa B., Webster Armstrong, Ara Arsenian, Ellenie Ash-Goodwin, Ortheia Barnes, Jenny Brown, Diane Charlemagne, Joanne Cottone, B.J. Crosby, Anita Darian, Darius Dhlomo, Celina González, Karen Hall, Mariem Hassan, Stephanie Haynes, Judith Hendricks, Doris Hines, Marilyn Holderfield, Javier Krahe, Cynthia Layne, Bonnie Mann, Lucille Mapp, Mary McGowan, Karl Moik, Mark Murphy, Musa Ngum, Quedellice Northern, Margo Reed, Dana Rogers, Julie Wilson, Famiza Zulkifli; singer and educator Maureen Budway; singer, composer and arranger Ward Swingle; singer and Wild Magnolias’ “Big Chief” Bo Dollis; singer and songwriter Rose Marie McCoy; singer, dancer and actor Kenneth Kamal Scott; singers and actors Natalie Cole, Tim Curry, Monica Lewis; singer and club owner Gene Lynn; singers and pianists Frankie Ford, Madalynne Strascina (Boots James); singer, pianist and accordionist Mardi Pring Luppert; singer, saxophonist, percussionist and bandleader Raul Azpiazú; singer and saxophonist Marc Thomas; singer, guitarist, bandleader and broadcaster Buddy Moreno;

Sitar player and composer Ravi Shankar.

Songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Danny Sembello;

Timbalero, composer and bandleader Bayardo “Benny” Velarde;

Trombonists Clifford Adams, Anthony Agresta, Gerhard “Doggy” Hund, Nat Peck, Rico Rodriguez, Dick Shoup, Joe Soares, George Stell, Benny Vasseur; trombonist and jazz festival co-founder Rick Chamberlain; trombonist, composer and arranger Johnny Keating; trombonists and educators Rick Davies, Don Doane, Raymond Katarzynski; trombonist and bassist Howard Jones, trombonist and tuba player Marc Steckar; trombonist, arranger, composer and educator J. Durward Morsch; trombonist and producer Ken Gibson; trombonist, pianist, composer and arranger Dorn Younger;

Trumpeters Al Aarons, Umberto Arlati, Tony Barrero, George Bean, Owen Bryce, Ben Cauley, Mick Collins, Dominick Consolo, Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill, Bill Lacy, Sepp Mitterbauer, Peter Rose, Cynthia Robinson, Marco Tamburini, Rein van den Broek, Don Welsch, Wilmer Wise; trumpeter, bandleader, educator and NEA Jazz Master Clark Terry; trumpeters and recording engineers Jim Mooney, Paul Serrano; trumpeters and educators Marcus Belgrave, Johnny Helms, Harry Hunt,Chuck Lord, John “Rook” McCauley, Ben Smalley, Lew Soloff, Jerry Ziering; trumpeter, singer and bandleader Les Bull; trumpeter, composer and arranger Bengt-Arne Wallin;

Vibraphonists Manfred Burzlaff, Dave Pike; vibraphonist, bandleader, broadcaster and educator Steve Pouchie;

Violinist Hajo Hoffman;

Club owners Marek Greliak, Robert Martin, Ray McFall, Hermann Nieweler, Giampiero Rubei, Butch Stone, Leola King Wilson, Emily “Jazzy” Wingert; club owner and trumpeter Bob Masteller; club co-founder and artist manager Dale Fitzgerald; jazz club manager and artist manager Bernice Lundy; artist managers Frank Modica Jr., Father Peter O’Brien; jazz club employee and photographer Waleed Rahman; UK record fair proprietor Rod King; jazz club and festival producer Gerhard Eder; club owner, broadcaster, concert promoter and record label owner Gene Norman; club owner and jazz promoiter Arnold Burri;

Jazz festival founder and concert producer Midge Ellis; jazz festival organizers Boštjan Cvek, Adele Davis, Monk Dupre, Bernard Souroque; jazz festival stage manager Mike Wilmot; concert producers Dave Hatfield, Jean-Marie Masse; recording executive, producer, writer and NEA Jazz Master Orrin Keepnews; producer and sound engineer and writer Mike King; record label co-founder and theatrical producer Miriam Bienstock; record label co-founder, producer and drummer Larry Rosen; sound engineer John Maimone; record label founder and producer Bernard Stollman; record label executive and writer Stan Cornyn; record label executive Bruce Lundvall; record promoter, producer and Woody Herman Society founder Al Julian; record producer, conductor, pianist and composer Ettore Stratta; record producer, broadcaster, musicologist, film historian, film-maker and songwriter Ken Barnes; concert producer, historian and documentary filmmaker Gary Keys; record producer, humorist and sound designer Henry Jacobs; record producer and broadcaster Philip Barker; music producer, director, writer and actor Luiz Carlos Miele; record producer, label owner and International Association of Jazz Record Collectors past president Gunnar Jacobsen; concert producer and pianist Zuma Renaud;

Designer, cartoonist and artist Jean Cabu; graphic designer and illustrator Paul Bacon; art director John Berg;

Educator and jazz promoter Dave Hatfield;

Filmmaker, broadcast executive and poet Richard O. Moore; filmmaker, archivist and producer George Manney;

Musicologist Horst Bergmeier; musicologist, educator and clarinetist Lawrence Gushee; music historian and writer William J. Proctor; American Jazz Museum founding director Rowena Stewart;

Poets Güenter Grass, Philip Levine;

Tap dancer Phil Black;

Broadcasters Juan Claudio Cifuentes, Don Haney, Tom the Jazzman Mallison, Lenny Mazel, Linard “Smitty” Smith, Don Wolff; broadcaster and record producer Bob Parlocha; broadcast producer Alain de Grobois; broadcast executive and producer Cephas Bowles; broadcasters and writers Rémy Kolpa Kopoul, Peter Makurube; broadcaster and jazz festival co-founder Richard Wheatley; broadcaster and educator Hazen Schumacher;

Photographers Syndey Byrd. Bunky deVecchis, John “Hoppy” Hopkins, Gene Hyden, Will McBride, Chester Sheard, Johan Van Eycken, Christian Wurm;

Writers Brent Black, Lothar Lewien, Roger Riggins, Bruno Rub, Ernie Santosuosso, John A. Williams, Jürgen Wölfer; writer and pianist William Zinsser; sociologist and writer Charles Winick; writer and photographer Franz XA Zipperer; writer, musicologist, producer, label owner, songwriter and playwright Mack McCormick; “Jazz on a Summer’s Day writer and playwright Albert D’Annibale; writer and director of “The Gig” Frank D. Gilroy;

Jazz advocate Walter Schätzlein;

Blues and gospel artists and industry figures Craig Allen, William “Washboard Bill” Allman, ”Chizmo Charles” Anderson, Sam Andrew, Comfort Annor, Robert “Wolfman” Belfour, Samuel Charters, Andrae Crouch, Eddie Cusic, Willie “Popsy” Dixon, Donna Douglas, Tim Drummond, Rocky Frisco, Patrice Moncell Gathright, Stefan George, Herbie Goins, Rickey Grundy, Evelyn Starks Hardy, Chris Hawkins, Labreeska Hemphill, Wendell Holmes, Joe Houston, Rev. Johnny “Hurricane” Jones, Don Kesee, B.B. King, Smokin’ Joe Kubek, Mosie Lister, Dave Mamber Jr., Joe Martins, David Maxwell, Mighty Sam McClain, AC McClendon III, Bumble Bee Bob Novak, Jimmy Lloyd Rea, David Shelley, Jarvis L. Smith, “Big Time Sarah” Streetwear, Dave Trupp, Cory Wells, Smokey Wilson.


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One Response so far.

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