Music News 12/29/21


Honoring some in the music world—many legendary, some lesser known—who died in 2021. 


Pop, Roots, Broadway, Country    


Stephen Sondheim, Broadway musical pioneer; Charlie Watts, drummer (Rolling Stones);  

Nancy Griffith, singer/songwriter; Don Everly, pioneering singer (Everly Brothers);   

Michael Nesmith, Monkees, & country-rock & video pioneer; Gerry Marsden (Gerry and the Pacemakers);   

Joanne Shenandoah, Native American singer/songwriter; Phil Spector, producer/songwriter (“Wall of Sound”);   

Sylvain Sylvain (New York Dolls); Sophie, singer; Mary Wilson (the Supremes & solo); DMX (Earl Simmons), hip hop artist; MF Doom, masked rapper;  

Jim Steinman, songwriter; Les McKeown (Bay City Rollers); Shock G, rapper (Digital Underground);   

Pervis Staples (the Staple Singers); Roger Hawkins, Muscle Shoals master drummer;   

B.J. Thomas (“Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head”); Alix Dobkin, lesbian music pioneer;   

Patrick Sky, folk singer; Byron Berline, bluegrass fiddler; Micki Grant, Bway composer (Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope); Steve Bronski (Bronski Beat);  

Willie Winfield (the Haptones); Lloyd Price, soul singer; Paul Cotton (Poco)   

Tom T. Hall, singer & songwriter; Sarah Dash, vocalist (Labelle); Ron Tutt, drums (Elvis);   

Jay Black (Jay and the Americans); Sonny Osborne, singer/banjo (Osborne Brothers);   

Ronnie Wilson (Gap Band); Don Maddox (Maddox Brothers & Sister Rose); Graeme Edge (the Moody Blues);  Stonewall Jackson, Grand Old Opry star; Kangol Kid, early rapper   

Dusty Hill, bassist (ZZ Top);  

Julz Sale, singer & guitarist (Delta 5); Billy Conway, drummer (Morphine); Timothy “Gift of Gab” Parker, rapper (Blackalicious); George Frayne IV aka Commander Cody (Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen); Anita Lane, musician & songwriter (The Bad Seeds); J. D. Crowe, bluegrass banjo innovator 




Chick Corea, pianist/composer/bandleader; Frank Kimbrough, pianist; Eugene Wright, bassist (Dave Brubeck Quartet); Claude Bolling, pianist/arranger; Phyllis McGuire (McGuire Sisters);   

Howard Johnson, tuba/brass master; David Darling, cello; Junior Mance, pianist;   

Milford Graves, drummer/teacher/explorer; Dr. Lonnie Smith, Hammond B3 organ;  

Larry Harlow, salsa bandleader/arranger (Fania); Johnny Pacheco, flautist, arranger, co-founder, Fania Records; George Mraz, bassist; Ralph Peterson, drummer; Freddie Redd, pianist; Sonny Simmons, alto sax;   

Chris Barber, saxophonist; Buddy Deppenschmidt, drummer (Charlie Byrd Trio, Jazz Samba);   

Curtis Fuller, trombone; Mario Pavone, bass; Jerry Granelli, drums; Bennie Pete (Hot 8 Brass Band);   

Pat Martino, guitar; Ralph Irizarry, Latin percussionist; Paul Jackson, bass (the Headhunters); Juini Booth, bass;   

Peter Ind, bass; Rick Laird, bass (Mahavishnu Orchestra); Jonas Gwnagwa, South African trombonist;   

Dave Frishberg, songwriter/singer, pianist; Barry Harris, pianist  




Christa Ludwig, mezzo-soprano; Ivry Gitlis, violinist; Theodore Lambrinos, baritone;   

Bernard Haitink, conductor; Yoshi Wada, Fluxus avant pioneer; R. Murray Schafer, composer/writer;   

Frederic Rzewski, composer/pianist; Michael Morgan, conductor; Carlisle Floyd, composer;   

Edita Gruberová, soprano; Nelson Freire, piano; Carlos Marín, baritone (Il Divo)  






Paddy Moloney (co-founder/uilleann pipes, the Chieftains); Flory Jagoda, Ladino songstress;  

U-Roy, Jamaican toaster pioneer; Lee (Scratch) Perry, pioneering reggae & dub producer & artist;   

Robbie Shakespeare, reggae bassist, producer (Sly & Robbie); Bunny Wailer, original Wailer;  

Mikis Theodorakis, composer; Adalberto Álvarez, “Gentleman of Son;”    

Vicente Fernández, “El Rey” of the ranchero  




Greg Tate, music & art critic/band leader/organizer (Burnt Sugar);   

Robert Farris Thompson, scholar, author, curator of “Afro Atlantic” music and arts;  

George Wein, festival innovator (Newport Jazz Festival); Peter G. Davis, classical music critic;   

Bob Koester, Delmark Records; Walter Yetnikoff, CBS Records; Phil Schaap, jazz scholar & DJ; Ken Kragen, “We Are the World” organizer 





Grace Griffith, folk & Celtic singer/songwriter; Bill Brower, DC jazz concert producer and writer;  

Chuck Thompson, hip-hop and R&B producer (& Chuck Brown Soul Searcher member);   

Aaron Martin, Jr., DC saxophonist; Stephen Crout, founder, Washington Concert Opera;   

Rudy Morales, DC Afro-Latin percussionist