Rest In Peace, Chico Hamilton

 

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Legendary jazz musician and leader of the Euphoria ensemble Chico Hamilton has passed away.

Coming up as a rising jazz drummer alongside other heavyweights such as Charles Mingus in high school, Chico played with Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan and others, cementing himself as a force to be reckoned with early on.

In 1987, he helped found the New School University Jazz & Contemporary Music Program in NYC, a place dear to many of our hearts.

His ensembles helped develop talent like Gabor Szabo and Larry Coryell, amongst many others. Chico is also credited as an influence for many contemporary talents such as Carlos Santana, Joe Claussell, Jose James, Mark de Clive-Lowe and Thievery Corporation.

Honored as a “Living Jazz Legend” by the Kennedy Center and as an NEA Jazz Master, Chico Hamilton was seminal to the jazz community, culture, and history. Material from his October 2013 recordings with his Euphoria ensemble will be released as the The Inquiring Mind in early 2014.

We are grateful to have had Chico as part of our own history here at Giant Step as well – he will be sorely missed.

The ongoing event series, Celebrating the Life & Music of Foreststorn ‘Chico’ Hamilton will continue on December 15 at Drom in NYC. Come out and pay homage to one of the greats.

Rest In Peace, George Duke

 

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Legendary keyboardist George Duke has passed at the age of 67. Left behind are over 30 solo albums and credit for creating bridges between Brazilian music, funk, R&B, and jazz. His work crossed several decades and included collaborations with Miles Davis, Anita Baker, Frank Zappa, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, and George Clinton – some of the very best

His work carried over the generations and has been sampled by Daft Punk, Common, Kanye West, MF Doom, Madlib, Pete Rock, Ice Cube, and A Tribe Called Quest.

In July of this year, Duke released a new album called DreamWeaver in memory of his wife who passed just over a year ago.

Duke and his ongoing contributions to music will be sorely missed.

Below, watch Duke perform one of our favorite tracks, “Dukey Stick,” with Sheila E in studio. After the jump, find rare footage of a full live show at the Montreux Jazz Festival with Billy Cobham.

Montreux Jazz Festival performance after the jump

Rest In Peace, Don Blackman

 

Soul great Don Blackman has passed. In addition to releasing his self-titled solo album, the Queens born jazz-funk pianist, singer/songwriter, and producer played with Parliament/Funkadelic, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Roy Ayers.

He also had a hand in the works of many influential pop icons of our age, including Janet Jackson, Sting, 2Pac, and Jay-Z.

Rest In Peace, Chuck Brown

 

As many may now know, “Godfather of Go-Go” Chuck Brown passed away yesterday in Baltimore at the age of 75. Having been a staple to DC music culture for decades now, go-go was founded by the singer-songwriter and musician as a response to disco in the mid 70′s. The funky dance music was dubbed go-go by Brown due to its non-stop energetic nature that keeps ‘going and going.’

The magnetic performer naturally became focal to the go-go movement and quickly became a local celebrity as the genre cemented its place as a source of pride for DC folks.

“Bustin’ Loose” was the song that put go-go on the map nationally, spending four weeks at the top of R&B charts in 1978. Other local hits included “We Need Some Money,” “Go-Go Swing,” and “Run Joe.”

Chuck and his contributions to the world of funk will not be forgotten. And indeed, go-go will most definitely live on.

 

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