Obituary

Courtesy of the artist

Since 2017, Slingshot—a collaboration between NPR Music and the digital music service VuHaus—has provided a platform where 'taste-making' music stations share stories about the music scene and emerging artists in their communities. Now, Slingshot is shining a spotlight on jazz in Philadelphia: its history, its present, and its future, with stories produced by WRTI.

Gary Peacock, a versatile bassist who collaborated with some of the 20th century's most notable jazz musicians, has died. He was 85.

His family confirmed in a statement to NPR that Peacock died peacefully Friday, Sept. 4, at his home in upstate New York. No cause of death was provided.

Over a career that spanned seven decades, he played on recordings alongside Albert Ayler, Paul Bley, Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, among many others.

Steve Grossman, a saxophonist whose lunging projection, sure rhythmic footing and clarity of attack helped propel him into the spotlight in the 1970s, notably in bands led by Miles Davis and Elvin Jones, died on Aug. 13 at Glen Cove Hospital in Glen Cove, N.Y. He was 69. The cause was cardiac arrest after a long illness, his brother Myles Grossman confirmed to NPR.

Andres Segovia popularized the classical guitar. Julian Bream took it to the next level.

Erich Auerbach/Getty Images

The virtuoso guitarist Julian Bream, who died August 14, 2020 at age 87 of natural causes in Wiltshire, England, helped change the way the world views the classical guitar and the lute, taking the instruments to new audiences and musical settings.

Helen Jones Woods, who played trombone with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, a history-making all-female big band that toured widely during World War II, died of COVID-19 on July 25 in Sarasota, Fla. She was 96.

Her daughter Cathy Hughes, founder and chairperson of the broadcast media company Urban One, confirmed the details of her death to NPR.

One of America's most beloved and resourceful pianists has died. Leon Fleisher was 92 years old. He died of cancer in Baltimore Sunday morning, according to his son, Julian.

The pianist's roller coaster career began with fame, moved to despair and ended in fulfillment.

Annie Ross, Mid-Century Jazz Icon, Dead At 89

Jul 22, 2020

Annie Ross, the veteran jazz singer, actress and founding member of the historic vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, died on July 21, four days before her 90th birthday. According to her friend and former manager, Jim Coleman, Ross died in her sleep at her home in Manhattan. She had been suffering from emphysema and a heart condition.

David Swanson

It was 1931 when Eleanor Blum arrived in Philadelphia at age 17 to study piano at the Curtis Institute of Music—and she never left. "Mrs. Sokoloff," as she was known to students and educators alike at the storied conservatory, died on July 12, 2020 at age 106 of natural causes. She taught at Curtis, the place she called home, for more than 84 years, and was planning to teach this fall despite the pandemic.

During jazz's first half-century, there were several great musicians who were all-but criminally under-recorded, relative to their talent. They include the clarinetist Jimmy Noone, trumpeter Freddie Webster and, most famously, pianist Herbie Nichols. With recording facilities increasingly accessible after the end of World War II, there are fewer such lost masters today — but the recent death of Eddie Gale is a reminder that they are not extinct. Gale was a stellar trumpeter who played in several crucially important bands and on a handful of exceptional recordings.

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