Chuck Greenberg (1950-1995): woodwind player and composer with a highly personal
style, pioneer of the Lyricon (first electronic saxophone), leader of the Grammy
Award winning group Shadowfax.
Thanks to Joy Horner-Greenberg for your book on his life and our dear communication.
Judee Sill (1944-1979): despite her lack of commercial success, considered one of the greatest female singer-songwriters of the 70s, an immensely talented and spiritual woman with a most tragic life.
Michael Hedges (1953-1997): one of the most influential acoustic guitarists of all time (listen to his 1983 recording ‘Aerial Boundaries’), a consummate performer who later added other instruments and vocals to some of his material, thus expanding his range. Hedges was also an avid yoga-practitioner and spiritual seeker, clearly audible on his last record ‘Torched’, released after his death. He died in a tragic car accident near his home in California.
George Jinda (1941-2002): eccentric percussionist for the global fusion band Special EFX, which he co-lead with guitarist Chieli Minucci from 1983 until 1996. Jinda started as a jazz drummer in his native Hungary and played all over Europe before permanently moving to the States in the 70s, focusing on ethnic percussion. George Jinda is the reason I started playing percussion.
Billy Higgins (1936-2001): one of the greatest jazz drummers of all time, a polyrhythmic genius and deeply religious man who studied Buddhism for years.
Jerry Garcia (1942-1995): frontman of the legendary Grateful Dead (the mother of all jambands), great guitar-soloist and songwriter (together with his lyric partner Robert Hunter). When Garcia was on fire, he could transport an audience to other places.
Michael Houser (1962-2002): guitarist and co-founder of popular Georgia based jamband Widespread Panic, known for his fluid lead lines and songwriting abilities (listen to ‘Airplane’ and ‘The Waker’). After his death (caused by cancer), two solo-albums were released: Doorharp (instrumental) and Sandbox (vocal).
Don Alias (1939-2006): percussion legend from NYC, after his studies in medicine he decided to pursue a musical career. Starting with Miles Davis’ legendary Bitches Brew sessions of 1968, he went on to play on numerous albums like Joni Mitchell’s Shadows And Light.
Jeff Porcaro (1954-1992): one of the grooviest drummers ever to walk the earth, highly influential studio-legend who played more than 1500 sessions with pure style, master of the shuffle.
Carlos Vega (1957-1998): just like Jeff Porcaro Vega was one of the first-call studiodrummers in LA for many years, a ridiculously great sense of time, feel and groove. For examples of his superb, tasty playing listen to James Taylor’s Live and Hourglass. Tragically Vega committed suicide.
Collin Walcott (1945-1984): percussionist, sitar-player and composer, founding member of the group Oregon, ECM-recording artist who released two solo albums, he also made three records with Don Cherry and Nana Vasconcelos as Codona.
Jim Pepper (1941–1992): saxophonist, singer and composer who combined his Native American roots with jazz. Melodic and powerful soloist. His composition Witchi Tai To is still played by Jan Garbarek and Oregon, among others.
Brent Myland (1952-1990): keyboardist-vocalist for the Grateful Dead from 1979 until his untimely dead of an overdose in 1990. Garcia said Myland was the best vocalist of them all, clearly audible in the harmonies heard on many live recordings and on a few songs in which he sang lead.
Vince Welnick (1951-2006): keyboardist-vocalist who replaced Mydland in 1990 and played with the band until Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995. Former member of The Tubes, Welnick led his own band Missing Man Formation, for which he wrote most of the material.
Stan Getz (1927-1991): saxophone legend and superb soloist with an instantly recognizable sound. Getz had an unstoppable melodic flow of ideas.
Keith Knudsen (1948-2005): one of the drummers for the Doobie Brothers. Groove maestro on such legendary songs as ‘Takin’ It To The Streets' and ‘What A Fool Believes’.
Knudsen also played in country band Southern Pacific in the 80s. I will never forget meeting the band in 2004 and playing percussion during ‘Listen To The Music’, the last song of their concert. The Doobies are among the nicest people I have ever met in the music business; the band is clearly their life.
Bobby LaKind (1945-1992): percussionist for the Doobie Brothers, originally a crew member, the band discovered his ability on congas and his steady groove-feel. Armed with his caracteristic three white Gon Bops congas, LaKind added zest to lots of Doobie songs ever since.
Mark Ledford (1960-2004): vocalist, trumpet player and multi-instrumentalist, most famous for his work with the Pat Metheny Group, Mark also played with numerous others and was (not many people know this) the first lead singer for Living Colour (before they started making records).
An unforgettable moment was a late night concert in Amsterdam in 1992 of the group Special EFX. Afterwards I met the bandmembers including Mark Ledford. When talking to him, a very tall and fat security guard of the venue approached us and asked me to leave. Then Mark, a very thin and small man, cried out: “no man, he’s my friend!”. So I could stay.
Joe Zawinul (1932-2007): ‘Papa Joe’, genius syntheziser wizard, pianist and composer, sideman for Cannonball Adderly, Miles Davis and others before forming his own legendary group Weather Report which he co-lead with the equally impressive Wayne Shorter.
Kevin Gilbert (1967-1996): one of the most talented songwriters of the last 20 years. Singer and multi-instrumentalist, workaholic, prolific and visionary writer of many gems. Heavily influenced by the 60s melodic pop of The Beatles and the 70s symphonic rock of Gentle Giant and Genesis, Gilbert created his own style and wrote complete rock-operas by age 17. Discover his concerns in beautiful lyrics like World Just Gets Smaller, Progress and The Way Back Home.