Los Angeles, CA (September 26, 2019)—Craft Recordings is pleased to announce the release of Chet Baker’s The Legendary Riverside Albums on November 15th. The deluxe five-LP box set presents the artist’s output as a leader for the renowned jazz label, recorded and released between 1958 and 1959: (Chet Baker Sings) It Could Happen To You, Chet Baker In New York, Chet and Chet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner And Loewe. The recordings, which feature such icons as Bill EvansJohnny Griffin and Kenny Burrell, have been cut from their original analog master tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and pressed on 180-gram vinyl at RTI. Also included is a bonus disc of choice outtakes and alternates from Baker’s Riverside sessions, plus a collectible photo print and a 16-page booklet filled with photos and insightful new liner notes by jazz historian Doug Ramsey. The complete collection will also be released digitally, including in hi-res 192/24 and 96/24 formats. The track “You’re Driving Me Crazy” is available to stream and download today: listen and pre-save the collection here.
Few musicians have embodied the romantic—and ultimately tragic—jazz figure as totally as Chesney “Chet” Baker (1929–88). Unschooled yet eloquent in his music, and a fast-liver who survived for nearly six decades, the Baker mystique has only reinforced one of the most haunting trumpet styles and ingenious approaches to jazz singing. The Los Angeles–based musician rose to fame in the early ’50s, playing with established artists like Charlie ParkerGerry Mulligan and pianist Russ Freeman—partnerships which would solidify his status as a major jazz star. By the end of the decade, when he signed a four-album deal with the New York–based label Riverside, Baker had become known for his trademark West Coast “cool jazz” style. However, these recordings—which pair the artist with some of the best East Coast players—demonstrate Baker’s versatility as a modern trumpeter who could play with even the hardest boppers. 
Baker’s 1958 recording session debut for Riverside, which resulted in the album release (Chet Baker Sings) It Could Happen To You, offers a modern, hipper take on standards like “Old Devil Moon,” “You’re Driving Me Crazy,” and “How Long Has This Been Going On?” The only album in this collection not produced by the label’s co-founder, Orrin Keepnews (who initially objected to his Riverside partner Bill Grauer’s unilateral signing of Baker), Chet Baker Sings is unique in that the nimble artist sets aside his trumpet in several of the tracks, using only his vocals—and even scatting some of the improvised solos in a style that sounds very much like his lyrical trumpet playing. In his new liner notes, Doug Ramsey praises that the album contains “Baker’s most inventive and convincing vocal work.” While All Music calls the album “An essential title in Chet Baker‘s 30-plus-year canon.”
A month after his Chet Baker Sings sessions, the artist went back into the studio to record Chet Baker In New York with a stellar lineup of Philly Joe Jones on drums, tough-tenor Johnny Griffin, bebop veteran Al Haig on piano and bassist Paul Chambers. The song selection, which ranges from laid-back and serene to hard-driving bop, features top-notch performances and impressive solos from all musicians involved. Highlights include the Miles Davis–penned tune “Solar,” the ballad standard “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” and the effervescent “Hotel 49.”
1959’s instrumental outing, Chet, focuses on ballads and features an all-star cast that includes pianist Bill Evans, guitarist Kenny Burrell, flutist Herbie Mann and Pepper Adams on the baritone saxophone. Baker shines in his languid and tuneful approach to tracks like “Alone Together,” “It Never Entered My Mind” and “September Song.” All About Jazz called the album “A session that allows the trumpeter to take his introspective time, encouraged by Evans’ spare accompaniment to transform these standards into vibrant, impressionistic etchings.”
Baker’s final album for Riverside, 1959’s Chet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner And Loewe, finds the trumpeter offering his renditions of tunes by lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe who, together, penned some of the most famous songs on Broadway. Baker, joined by an ensemble that once again included Bill EvansPepper Adams and Herbie Mann—along with the great Zoot Sims on tenor saxophone—covers material from My Fair Lady, Gigi, Brigadoon and Paint Your Wagon.
In addition to the four LPs, The Legendary Riverside Albums also includes a fifth disc, featuring outtakes and alternate takes from Baker’s recording sessions with the label. Doug Ramsey points out several highlights, including “Chet’s playing into a Harmon mute on the new version of ‘The More I See You’ and the spaciousness of his open horn in the Matt Dennis–Tom Adair classic ‘Everything Happens To Me.’ There is also a rarity, ‘While My Lady Sleeps.’” Ramsey adds that Baker’s version of the song “Underlines pianist [Kenny] Drew’s finely honed ability to concentrate on his partner’s phrasing and harmonic turns, and supply perfect support.’”Though Baker’s Riverside era preceded even more troubling times for the artist, these recordings find the artist in excellent form, joined by some of New York’s finest musicians, proving his brilliance as an inspired original, and as one of the great jazz musicians of the 20th century.  The collection is now available to pre-order in 5-LP and digital formats: Click here
Special bundle featuring a limited edition Riverside t-shirt available exclusively via the Craft Recordings online store: Click here
TRACK LISTING: DISC ONEChet Baker Sings: It Could Happen to You
Side 11.    Do It The Hard Way2.    I’m Old Fashioned3.    You’re Driving Me Crazy4.    My Heart Stood Still
Side 21.    The More I See You2.    Everything Happens To Me3.    Dancing On The Ceiling4.    How Long Has This Been Going On?5.    Old Devil Moon

DISC TWOChet Baker In New York
Side 11.    Fair Weather2.    Polka Dots and Moonbeams3.    Hotel 49
Side 21.    Solar2.    Blue Thoughts3.    When Lights Are Low

Side 11.    Alone Together2.    How High The Moon3.    It Never Entered My Mind4.    ’Tis Autumn
Side 21.    If You Could See Me Now2.    September Song3.    You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To4.    Time On My Hands5.    You And The Night And The Music

DISC FOURChet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner And Loewe
Side 11.    I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face2.    I Could Have Danced All Night3.    The Heather On The Hill4.    On The Street Where You Live
Side 21.    Almost Like Being In Love2.    Thank Heaven For Little Girls3.    I Talk To The Trees4.    Show Me

DISC FIVEBonus LP: Outtakes and Alternates
Side 11.    While My Lady Sleeps (Take 10)2.    You Make Me Feel So Young (Take 5)3.    The More I See You (Take 8, Alternate)4.    Everything Happens To Me (Take 2, Alternate)
Side 21.    Soft Winds2.    Early Morning Mood

Chet Baker’s ‘The Legendary Riverside Albums’ deluxe five-LP box set and digital release out 11/15

Tobacco Road

Tobacco Road was widely considered to be Miami’s oldest bar with property records showing business operations as far back as 1915.

Tobacco Road will be sorely missed. It was the best and oldest dive bar in Miami, with some of best BBQ in metro area. A true Miami landmark and treasure. The bar was always crowed with great people, good vibes, amazing drink specials, and yearly events such as the Crawfish Boil and Seafood Festival.

A Brief History of Tobacco Road

Considered Miami’s Oldest Bar, The Road survived several Miami land booms, Al Capone, Prohibition, the Great Depression, the country at War, deadly hurricanes, Mariel Boatlift, race-riots, cocaine cowboys, and the rise and fall and rise of South Beach. The Road had been a speakeasy, gambling den, gay bar, strip joint and blues bar. The two-story structure remained virtually unchanged since its inception in the early 1900s. And while ownership changed, the primary purpose of the establishment – a neighborhood watering hole always remained the same.

Turn of the century – 1930s
The original address was 1812 Avenue D before the city changed its street names in 1920. During its early years, the establishment was a bakery that presumably served as a front for a speakeasy during Prohibition. A secret room hidden behind a bookshelf on the second floor was used to store liquor. While Prohibition was in effect from 1920 – 1930, Dade County was voted to be Dry in 1913. In the 1920s and 30s, the second floor speakeasy was also thought to be used as a gambling den.

In the early 1940s it was purchased by an infamous racketeer and bookie from New York who named it Tobacco Road. During this decade, the Road became a nationally known gay bar and the focus of local outrage. It was shut down by the city’s Morals Squad for “lewd, wanton and lascivious behavior” a charge that referred to its female impersonators and male strippers. The military responded by declaring the Road off limits to all its personnel a ban that was lifted in 1986.

In the decades that followed, the bar operated under the names Chicken Roost, Chanticleer Restaurant and Shandiclere. In the 1970s, it was sold to a former Miami police officer, who renamed the bar back to Tobacco Road.

In 1981, Governor Bob Graham ordered a drug raid on Tobacco Road and the bar was again temporarily shut down. In 1982, the bar was sold to its present owners Michael Latterner and Patrick Gleber. The neighborhood was tough and so was the Road. The parking lot was an abandoned field with homeless squatters and a crack house was located across the street.

National blues and jazz acts began playing the bar, including George Clinton The King of Funk, Koko Taylor, The Queen of the Blues, David Bromberg Legendary Songwriter & Performer, John Lee Hooker An American Blues Roots Treasure, Dr. John Personification of New Orleans and Albert Collins Blues Guitar Master.

Tobacco Road gained a new reputation as a popular hangout with downtown professionals, celebrities and tourists.

On the morning of October 26, Tobacco Road had its final last call and turned off the famous neon sign for the final time in its 102 year old location. 

The building has been around since 1912 and has been a bakery, burlesque club, gay club, gambling den and of course a place for live music. Tobacco Road was the only place in Miami where lawyers, politicians and doctors could drink next to bikers, vagrants and drug dealers. 

Tobacco Road was hurting for business the last few years with the construction of Brickell City Centresurrounding the bar and after having the property bought for $12.5 million in 2012 by developer Carlos Mattos. 


Threatened by health officials in the early 1980s, Tobacco Road was closed for several months to undergo renovations, including the addition of this outdoor patio.

Laura Hirata knew how to pour a Guinness beer. Very slowly. She could also mix cocktails while juggling drink and food orders. Yet the tattooed bartender had an Achilles heel: handling remote controls. “I hate technology,” she mutters while trying to find the Miami Marlins game. “I still have a VCR.”

“I have a couple of porno tapes, but I don’t have a VHS,” a customer declares, quickly adding: “Just kidding!”

A few seats away, the conversation is more somber. “Jimbo’s is gone. It’s history!” one patron groans, referring to the smoked-fish and beer establishment that operated at Virginia Key from 1954 until last year.

People sitting on either side of him rattle off other Magic City bars and hangouts that have shut down in recent years.

“There’s nowhere left!” one man gripes.

“I’m with you,” mumbles a stocky drinker sitting to his left.

The cluster of people at the bar then makes a toast, to Miami’s lost haunts and to the good times they’ve had at Tobacco Road.

Located at 626 S. Miami Ave., Tobacco Road is renowned for its drink specials, comfort food, and live music.

When Miami-Dade State Attorney Janet Reno was appointed U.S. Attorney General in 1993, Tobacco Road was the scene of the celebration. When the cinematic version of Miami Vice was being filmed, actor Colin Farrell frequented Tobacco Road during his off-time. He enjoyed the jalapeño-rich Death Burger, drank with cops who served as consultants for the film, and flirted with a certain female bartender. When celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse is in town, you might catch him playing drums with one of the bands.

Although the famous and influential do enjoy the Road, as longtime patrons call it, so do construction works, waiters, and various local characters. “Most places you go, they tend to attract a certain type of person,” says Mark Weiser, who has booked music acts at Tobacco Road for more than 30 years. “But every kind of person goes to the Road at the same time. It’s pretty cool like that.”


Road co-owner Patrick Gleber: “When we bought this land, it was as a real estate investment, so it was always for sale.” 

Tobacco Road was not only cool, it was old. On November 17, it will celebrate its 100th anniversary. During much of the 20th Century the bar has operated under different names and owners as a speakeasy, a gambling den, a gay bar, a dive bar, a strip joint, a theater house, and a music club. It has survived prohibition, military boycotts, city-sanctioned homophobia, dramatic demographic changes, police raids, violent crime, urban renewal, and broken friendships.

And along with that long life are plenty of stories. Patrons and owners from the early years are gone, their tales taken with them to the grave. But the past three decades, under the ownership of Patrick Gleber and Kevin Rusk, have produced a long string of memorable moments.

There’s the time a naked man tried to get inside the Road but the doorman wouldn’t let him in. “We have a dress code,” he informed him.

There’s the time when a couple were having sex in the upstairs lounge — right when Rusk’s relatives were visiting the Road.

There’s the time when 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley jumped on stage with a tambourine during a blues performance.

There’s the time when Cindy Crawford was turned away for not having an ID.

There are the times when Jimmy Buffet, Lenny Kravitz, Jefferson Airplane, the Romantics, and other big names in the music world, after watching local acts, decided to join the jam session.

And there are plenty of stories surrounding the late Willie Bell, also known as Dr. Feelgood, a skinny ex-con who poked unruly guests with a finger, was fond of saying “that’s what she said,” and hid a large knife and gun beneath his clothes, either of which he could pull out at the blink of any eye if he felt the bar was threatened.

The Road’s past is certainly colorful. The future, however, is anything but certain: It’s unclear if the place will outlive Brickell’s latest development boom.

Much of the surrounding area has been transformed into the birthing grounds of Brickell CitiCentre, a massive, towering $1 billion project of offices, condos, hotels, and retail being built by Swire Properties, the Hong Kong-based company that developed Brickell Key.

“When Swire announced the project, people came out of the woodwork looking to buy our property,” says Gleber, co-owner of Tobacco Road since 1982.

This past April, Gleber and his partners sold the two-story building for $941,600 to Tobacco Road Property Holdings, Inc. Fabio Faerman, commercial division director for Fortune International Realty, brokered the deal and represents the new owner, but won’t say who controls Tobacco Road Property Holdings.


Kevin Rusk partnered with Gleber in 1982 as co-owner, but eventually left: “It was a shock that two people I admired would stick a knife in my back.”

However, according to the Daily Business Review, the company is headed by Carlos Mattos, president of Hyundai Colombia Automotriz, who has been investing in land throughout Miami-Dade County.

The 3800-square-foot Tobacco Road parcel was just a small part of a $12.5 million land deal between Tobacco Road Property Holdings and various companies connected to real estate investor Michael Latterner, Gleber, or Rusk. The transaction gave Tobacco Road Property Holdings ownership of 49,950 square feet of land that includes parking lots along SW 7th Street as well as restaurant, retail, and office space. As part of the deal, Tobacco Road and the River Seafood & Oyster Bar, located a few doors south of the Road, can continue operating in their current locations for the next three years.

“When we bought this land, it was as a real estate investment, so it was always for sale,” Gleber says with a sigh.

But the business itself wasn’t — and isn’t — for sale.

Gleber continues to run Tobacco Road, although the restaurant is now a mere tenant. And if the Road is unable to endure at 626 S. Miami Ave., Gleber says he’ll just move it somewhere else. “I think the Road has value, and the name has value,” he says.

Mark Weiser believes the bar’s long history adds value to the land and, hence, is sure it won’t be demolished anytime soon. “If I were a developer, it’d be a plus to have the oldest cabaret in Miami on my property,” he says. “So I’m not too worried.”

Indeed the new landlord, who put down another $28.2 million to buy 2.5 acres of nearby vacant land, is reportedly in no rush to demolish anything, content with rental income, which will increase over time, according to Faerman. “The location is incredible,” he says. “Miami Avenue’s going to be a major street that’ll compete with Brickell Avenue.”


Tobacco Road’s downstairs bar is a home away from home for many, who say they’ll miss it when it finally closes.

ccording to several newspaper reports published since 1982, the business later known as Tobacco Road was opened in 1912. When Dade County went dry and prohibited alcohol a year later, a bakery and sandwich shop served as a front while an illegal speakeasy served liquor on the second floor.

Between the 1920s and 1930s, the second floor also operated as an illicit casino. Among the guests was Al Capone, who lived part-time on Palm Island in Miami Beach.

At least that’s the legend. The farther back one goes, the harder it is to verify elements of Tobacco Road’s past. “I’ve heard stories,” says Paul George, a local historian affiliated with Miami-Dade College. “They’re murky.”

According to county property appraiser’s records, Tobacco Road’s current building was constructed in 1915, although an employee of that department acknowledges that records are sometimes inaccurate for such old buildings.

Gleber and Rusk are convinced that Tobacco Road was founded 100 years ago and operated illegally during the dry years at that very spot. While renovating the bar, they found the secret passageway hidden by a bookshelf that led those in the know from the bakery and sandwich shop to the speakeasy on the second floor.

Locals, including a previous owner and elderly former patrons, have also told them the Road was a speakeasy. Gleber remembers an incident 15 years ago when a “white-haired little old lady” asked to see the upstairs lounge, now called the Cabaret Stage, one last time before she moved from Miami.

Once there, she described what the room looked like in the 1920s, replete with bird cages, roulette wheels, and gambling tables. “She goes: ‘We used to have such a great time here,’” Gleber remembers her saying. “‘We’d gamble and drink when it wasn’t allowed.’”

By the 1940s, the bar was called Tobacco Road. For a period of time it was a gay bar that featured male strippers as part of its entertainment and transvestites as part of its customer base. Jack Bell, a Miami Heraldcolumnist during that decade, wrote that Tobacco Road was as “queer as a nine-dollar bill,” according to a Heraldarticle by Leonard Pitts, Jr.

The rest of the newspaper back then called the place a “filthy hole.” By 1944 the military had banned its personnel from visiting the Road. Later that same year the city’s “morals squad” shut down the bar for “lewdness,” according to the Herald.

It was reopened in 1946 under the name Chanticleer Bar, and probably continued to operate as a gay bar, in spite of Miami leaders’ obsession with eradicating homosexuality in the Magic City. Prodded by the Heraldand the Miami News, whose reporters and editors labeled gays as “sex perverts,” Miami officials launched a series of raids on gay bars in 1954. Among the establishments hit was the “Shanticleer Bar,” according to a Miami Newsarticle, likely a misspelled reference to the Chanticleer.

By the early 1970s, the place was just a neighborhood bar. “I was in there in 1975 when I was a college student,” remembers historian Paul George. “It was a Sunday afternoon. There were hard-core drinkers, lots of smoke in the place, and pinball machines.”

Retired police officer Neil Katzman reclaimed the Tobacco Road moniker when he bought the building in 1977 for $80,000. Much of his efforts were spent renovating the upstairs lounge, which he called the Speakeasy at Tobacco Road. His decorating choices can still be seen: photographs of old Miami, quirky lamps, and a painting of a topless woman.


Mark Weiser has been booking bands at Tobacco Road for 30 years: “Every kind of person goes to the Road. It’s pretty cool like that.”

Why that painting? “Katzman turned it into a strip bar,” Gleber answers.

“He tried to make it a topless club,” corrects Weiser, who at the time was manager of the Fat Chance Blues Band, which later renamed itself Iko-Iko. “That failed. So they brought us in.”

Katzman turned to blues and jazz for entertainment (along with the occasional stage play), but the environment in Southside, as the area was known, didn’t exactly help business owners.

“It was rows and rows of crack houses,” remembers Jack Pakonis, a bartender at Tobacco Road for 30 years (under Gleber and Rusk), who frequented the Road under Katzman’s ownership after working his shift at a Coconut Grove club. “Unless you were already really drunk, people were afraid to go to that neighborhood.”

Gram Wood Drout says the tough neighborhood actually enabled him to become a professional musician. The wife of the Fat Chance Blues Band’s original lead singer wouldn’t let him work there. “The hours were 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 in the morning, and the Road was notoriously rough,” he remembers. The rest of the band asked Drout, then a budding musician, to take the singer’s place. He did, and remains the lead singer for Iko-Iko.

“We were there right after the Mariel boatlift,” Drout continues. For much of the night, the bar was filled with Mariel refugees, many of whom wanted to try their hand at playing the drums. When things got too crazy inside the bar, Katzman would pull out his shotgun. Says Drout: “It was click click, and he’d just hold it.”

It was law enforcement, not rowdy patrons, who ended Katzman’s reign. Under Gov. Bob Graham’s direct orders, state agents and local cops raided the Road and nine other Miami establishments for drugs in 1981. The charges against Katzman didn’t stick, but he was determined to sell all his properties, so he hired real estate broker Michael Latterner.

“When it came time to sell Tobacco Road, nobody would touch it,” Gleber says. (Katzman, who is supposedly living in Mexico, couldn’t be reached for comment. Latterner also couldn’t be reached by deadline.)

So in 1982, Latterner himself bought the Road’s building for $150,000 and asked Gleber to become his partner in running the bar. At the time, Gleber was a 22-year-old recent graduate of Florida International University’s hospitality program who ran the Vine Wine Bar at The Falls shopping center. As he likes to tell it, Gleber visited the Road for the first time on St. Patrick’s Day, found a rabbit’s foot talisman in the gutter, and heard the song “Tobacco Road” play on the radio while he was driving home. “That was enough for me,” he says.

But Gleber couldn’t do it alone. After being rejected by at least one prospective partner, Gleber turned to Kevin Rusk, a fellow FIU hospitality graduate who also worked at the Vine Wine Bar. As Rusk recounts: “He said something along the lines of, ‘Hey, I’m doing this thing about buying this place. This guy really needs to get rid of it and it’s a horrible rundown bar that’s poorly managed.’”

When Rusk visited the Road, it was love at first sight. “I’m from Baltimore,” he explains. “I know dive bars. I love dive bars. So I was like, ‘Oh, yeah. This is great. Let’s do it!’”



Bluesman Gram Wood Drout: When things got too crazy, the previous owner would pull out his shotgun. “It was click click, and he’d just hold it.”

fter Gleber and Rusk bought a stake in the Road, Rusk pretended to be a trainee bartender in order to figure out how the operation was being run. “There were a lot of seedy things going on,” Rusk recalls.

The senior bartenders, for example, instructed Rusk not to hassle a particular drug dealer, a few prostitutes (several of whom lived in rooming houses across the street) openly solicited customers, and some drink proceeds were kept separate from the cash register.

When Rusk revealed himself as one of the new owners, the old staffers knew it was time to go. “Most of them were gone when they found out we were really making changes,” Rusk says. “They wanted nothing to do with it.”

Besides drug-dealing and sexual activity (“There were some really interesting silhouettes,” Drout recalls), the new owners had to contend with lots of violence. For the first six months, there were so many barroom brawls that Gleber often had to use the brass knuckles and a roll of quarters he carried with him. One person was fatally stabbed in the bar. There were also drive-by shootings outside.

When the health department threatened to intervene, Gleber and Rusk shut down the Road for several months and invested $60,000 renovating the building. They expanded and cleaned up the kitchen (the old Road was content with serving hard-boiled eggs and pretzels), shortened the main bar, changed the seating, and turned a garbage strewn rear lot into an outdoor patio bar.

They hired their culinary friends as chefs and cooks and created a decent lunch and dinner menu. Because choices were more limited in downtown Miami back then, Tobacco Road was a hit, especially with Miami’s legal community, in particular with federal prosecutors, whose offices were nearby on the north side of the Miami River. “There weren’t that many restaurants in downtown Miami back then,” Weiser says. “So Tobacco Road became very popular for lunch, or happy hour, or dinner. You had judges and you had lawyers from both sides of important cases.”

When the Road reopened in 1983, it still had to contend with the Florida Department of Transportation, which was ripping apart the street as they built a new Miami Avenue bridge. Several businesses closed down as a result of the disruptive construction.

Among the casualties was Lucky Strike Bar. Established in 1932 at 524 S. Miami Ave., Lucky Strike’s bartenders were fond of first ridiculing anyone ordering a cocktail (even a screwdriver or a Bloody Mary) as a sissy, and then suggesting they order a drink at Tobacco Road. FDOT seized Lucky Strike, demolished it, and built the ramp to the new drawbridge right over it.

The Road had another trick up its sleeve: music. “We tried a lot of different things: reggae, jazz,” Rusk says. “As much as people liked jazz, the jazz people would just sip a glass of wine. But if you get a good blues band, they down glasses of beer at three times the rate.”

Besides bringing Fat Chance Blues Band back to the Road (they left after just three months working under Katzman), Weiser also attracted superstars of the blues world and American roots genre. John Hammond, James Cotton, John Lee Hooker, Koko Taylor, and Albert Collins are just some of the blues giants who have performed at the Road. “That’s really what started to build our reputation all over the world,” Weiser says. Not even the roadblocks that were present during the Miami Avenue bridge’s construction were a deterrent for the blues crowd. “It was part of the fun,” Weiser says. “It almost made it like a secret place.”


Kitchen window: Gleber and Rusk established Tobacco Road as a restaurant with a bar, rather than the other way around.

Iko-Iko became the Road’s unofficial house band, performing there almost every week for 15 years. But after the mid-1990s, the Road was booking fewer blues acts in favor of other genres like jam bands, rock, and heavy metal. As time went on, Iko-Iko’s appearances became increasingly sporadic. “We play up north in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach,” says Drout, who still performs solo at the Road on Tuesdays. “That’s where our audience moved to.”

In the years that followed, Latterner, Gleber, and Rusk increased their real estate holdings along S. Miami Avenue. Gleber and Rusk also started other restaurant ventures, including Fishbone Grille, which operated in the space now occupied by the River Seafood & Oyster Bar.

But by 1996, Rusk walked away from managing the Road. Rusk, who went on to open the successful Titanic Restaurant and Brewery in Coral Gables, feels he was forced out by Gleber and Latterner. “It was a shock that two people I admired and I thought of as family would stick a knife in my back,” he says today. “I could’ve sued them, but that’s not my thing. I was more hurt than anything else.”

“There was a disagreement about how things should be run,” replies Gleber, who owns a stake in Pegasus Thruster Inc., a company that makes underwater propulsion gear for divers. “Kevin is a talented restaurateur. We just have different theories.”

Still, Rusk plans to make an appearance at the Road during the 100th anniversary, along with many friends. “I love Tobacco Road and everything about it,” Rusk says. “I’d love to see it live for another hundred years, but I’m a realist, and I do understand the business aspect.”

Rusk doubts a developer would be willing to invest the money needed to address the building’s quirks, including cleaning out the asbestos. “It is fine and stable,” he says, “but once you find asbestos in a building, then the cost to repair anything increases.”

Gleber credits Rusk, Weiser, Pakonis, and several other employees and partners, past and present, with making Tobacco Road a success. But he insists the Road isn’t done yet. “We’re constantly working on different ideas,” he says. “It’s always a work in progress. You slow down, you die.”

Historian Paul George, has frequented the Road in recent years, isn’t sure it’ll be the same if it isn’t at 626 S. Miami Ave. “A different building has a different ambiance, I don’t care what they do,” he says. “I hope they’re planning the 100th in a big way because it might not be around much longer.”


Tobacco Road’s 100th anniversary took place on November 17 2012.

On October 26, 2014, Tobacco Road closed and was demolished by Thunder Demolition Inc. An estimated 4,000 people came on its last night…

A Tribute to Tobacco Road!

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Allan Holdsworth: None Too Soon

None Too Soon (1996), by Allan Holdsworth, is a jazz album that somehow manages to sound both traditional and left of center, simultaneously.

Allan Holdsworth played guitar like John Coltrane played saxophone; completely free and almost stream of consciousness.

The notes just glide off his fingers in the most entrancing

patterns, like stones skipping across a still body of water.

The songs on None Too Soon are primarily jazz standards from the likes of Coltrane, Joe Henderson, Irving Berlin, Django Reinhardt, Bill Evans, and Lennon & McCartney (not jazz, but jazzed up Beatles!).

Pianist Gordon Beck contributed 2 songs that fit right in with the better known tunes. Throughout, Beck plays wonderful accompaniment to Holdsworth’s magical solo excursions, and provides plenty of tasty soloing of his own. Allan Holdsworth was a giant of the guitar, and of music altogether. He was one of a kind, and his playing will endure.

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

John Coltrane: Giant Steps

One of the most influential and gifted sax players in history, John Coltrane, released Giant Steps (1960) not long after completing recording Kind Of Blue with Miles Davis.

Coltrane’s playing on these landmark jazz records was revolutionary at the time and legendary for all time. His tone was a thing of beauty and his choices of chord patterns to solo over were soon known as Coltrane changes.

Even his melodic phrasing earned the colorful title of “sheets of sound.”

When I’m in the mood for pure jazz, the two artists I invariably go to are Miles and Coltrane, the twin towers of excellence.

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Al Di Meola: Gypsy

Al Di Meola’s Elegant Gypsy (1977) was an exceptional jazz fusion instrumental album that covered a lot of ground in both electric and acoustic guitar styles.

Di Meola could play faster than anyone I had heard at that time, but he always sounded both classy and passionate. He wasn’t playing fast just for the sake of speed.

His compositions were full of great melodic ideas and transitions, allowing the rhythm section and keyboards to shine as much as he did.

Big time talent was all over Elegant Gypsy: Steve Gadd and Lenny White on drums, Jan Hammer and Barry Miles on keyboards, and a stunning duet/duel on flamenco guitar with Paco de Lucia on the track Mediterranean Sundance.

My personal favorite songs were Race With Devil On Spanish Highway, Flight Over Rio, Elegant Gypsy Suite, and the awesome acoustic track Lady Of Rome, Sister Of Brazil.

Di Meola eventually gave up electric guitar for many years to concentrate on acoustic, classical, and Latin styles. In 2006 he finally returned to the electric and I’m glad he did, because he just has magnificent talent, tone, and a sound that is all his own.

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Stanley Clarke: School Days

Another pioneering virtuoso bassist from the jazz fusion explosion of the 1970’s, Stanley Clarke rose to fame with Return To Forever and also put out a string of excellent solo albums. Probably the best known (and my personal favorite) was School Days (1976).

The song School Days kicked off the album with one of the best bass riffs of all time and featured Clarke’s ripping bass solo with blinding speed and plenty of slap ‘n pop.

Desert Song was an acoustic number with Clarke on standup bass and John McLaughlin on guitar.

The closing track, Life Is Just A Game, showcased Clarke on a brief lead vocal, plus an insane guitar solo from Icarus Johnson and an equally thrilling bass solo where Clarke matched the guitarist’s speed and intensity note for note. Some of the drummers on the album included Steve Gadd and Billy Cobham, and George Duke contributed some keyboards.

School Days is a great album from one of the best bass players in the game.

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Jaco Pastorius

Jaco Pastorius released his (self titled) first solo album in 1976. Helping Pastorius out were some heavy hitters in the jazz community, like Herbie Hancock, Lenny White, Hubert Laws, Don Arias, Wayne Shorter, Randy & Michael Brecker, Narada Michael Walden, and Sam & Dave, who contributed vocals on the funky and soulful Come On, Come Over.

The opening cut, Donna Lee (by Charlie Parker) displays Jaco’s flawless use of harmonics, and establishes his mastery of the electric bass. Jaco Pastorius is not just a collection of bass solos, though.

Jaco proves himself as a team player throughout; keeping a cavernous deep pocket and being subtle when needed, and stepping forward and displaying dizzying technique at the perfect times.

Even when other musicians are in the spotlight, Pastorius is a joy to listen to at all times. The man had such personality in his playing style, and his tone on the fretless bass was unmistakably his trademark.

There have been countless bass players (and musicians in gerneral) who have been influenced by Jaco, but he truly was one of a kind.

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Weather Report: Heavy Weather

Weather Report made this list on the strength of their 1977 release, Heavy Weather.

More specifically, Weather Report is here due to the bass playing of one Jaco Pastorius, who was the bass playing equivalent of Jimi Hendrix.

Pastorius played fretless bass, and in a band that included Wayne Shorter on saxophone and Joe Zawinul on keyboards (2 alumni from Miles Davis bands), he still managed to stand out as the most valuable player.

Jazz fusion was in its golden age when this album came out, and the leadoff track, Birdland, was one of the biggest songs ever in that genre. Other classics included Teen Town, A Remark You Made, and Havona.

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Miles Davis is my undisputed heavyweight champion of jazz, and Kind Of Blue is the best jazz album of all time…end of story. Before I ever thought about playing guitar, I was a trumpet player, and Miles was this mythical figure, impossibly cool and godly talented. Kind Of Blue came out in 1959, 2 years before I was born. It was a break from the bebop style that was immensely popular at the time in favor of a newer, modal style of improvisation. Davis had a crew of monster players, including the mighty John Coltrane and “Cannonball” Adderly on tenor and alto saxophones, respectively, and Bill Evans on piano. These sublimely talented soloists breathed creative fire into the 5 compositions on Kind Of Blue and essentially made jazz (indeed, music in general) history. This album is timeless and will continue to influence musicians and provide musical bliss for generations to come.

Written By Braddon S. Willliams

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Bright voices from every corner of the music world left us this year — from virtuoso players to visionary composers, from charismatic bandleaders to golden-eared producers, from influential inventors to critics and commentators who interrogated and elevated the art they covered. Explore their legacies here.

Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Nat Hentoff

June 10, 1925 Jan. 7, 2017

Hentoff was a writer for The Village Voice for 50 years. … He also was a lover and frequent writer on jazz music. From age 11, he was hooked on the genre after hearing the song “Nightmare” by Artie Shaw coming through an open door at a record store. (Read the full obituary

William Onyeabor

March 26, 1946Jan. 16, 2017

Onyeabor was something like Nigeria’s answer to Parliament-Funkadelic, churning out space-age disco-funk in the 1970s and ’80s with synths and drum machines. (Read the full obituary)

Junie Morrison

Date UnknownJan. 21, 2017

When it comes to the funk gods who swung low and sprinkled pixie dust on hip-hop’s ’90s G-Funk redux, Junie Morrison is of the highest order. His musical contributions to early Ohio Players hits (“Funky Worm”) and co-writing and playing on P-Funk’s biggest hit (“One Nation Under A Groove”) became the sonic blueprint for hits by artists ranging from De La Soul to Dr. Dre.

Maggie Roche

Oct. 26, 1951Jan. 21, 2017

As Ann Powers noted earlier this year, Roche and her sisters wrote songs “about pregnancy, work, family tensions, complex love and the feminine mystique [that] gained clarity from the utterly clear, deliberately imperfect harmonies” Maggie delivered along with her sisters Terre and Suzzy.

David Axelrod

April 17, 1931Feb. 5, 2017

“He is one of the most intriguing arrangers and composers that I’ve ever heard doing psychedelic rock and funk music together. To me his music is singular,” foundational hip-hop producer Pete Rock says. “I’m a digger and there are records that are similar but something about his music stands out on his own. That music is really deadly, and only he could really touch it.” (Read the full remembrance)

Al Jarreau

March 12, 1940Feb. 12, 2017

Since he recorded his first album in the 1960s, Jarreau demonstrated a vocal dynamism and flexibility that outpaced many of his peers — as can be seen in his track record at the Grammys. Jarreau won seven of them over the course of his career, becoming the only vocalist to win plaudits in the jazz, pop and R&B categories. (Read the full obituary)

Clyde Stubblefield

April 18, 1943Feb. 18, 2017

For most of his career, Stubblefield was better known in sound than in name. He joined James Brown’s backing band in 1965. … Songs like “Cold Sweat,” “Say It Loud — I’m Black And I’m Proud” and “Mother Popcorn” are now revered as a gold standard for funk drumming. A generation later, he would have an even bigger impact on hip-hop, as the pattern he’d played on 1970’s “Funky Drummer” proved irresistible to producers. (Read the full obituary)

Larry Coryell

April 2, 1943Feb. 19, 2017

Coryell’s recordings in the late 1960s — first with his band the Free Spirits, then with the Gary Burton Quartet and finally as a bandleader — predicted the rise of jazz-rock fusion and contributed to the sonic evolution of the genre. It’s no wonder that snippets of his work were sampled by renowned producers, including J Dilla and DJ Shadow. (Read the full obituary)

Leon Ware

Feb. 16, 1940Feb. 23, 2017

Born in Detroit in 1940, Ware became a Motown songwriter in his 20s. Soon, he was writing for the who’s who of Motor City — including Marvin Gaye, whose funk-infused 1976 album I Want You was co-produced by Ware, who also co-wrote every tune on the release. (Read the full obituary)

Misha Mengelberg

June 5, 1935March 5, 2017

A conservatory-trained composer who played oddball jazz piano and a seemingly disorganized man who helped Dutch improvisers get government support partly by rebranding improvisation as instant composing, … he was a musical anarchist who taught classical counterpoint and wrote dozens of catchy melodies that rarely sounded like typical jazz tunes. (Read the full obituary)

Dave Valentin

April 29, 1952March 8, 2017

Dave Valentin became one of the pre-eminent flutists in Latin jazz. He was known for his creative combination of fusion, pop and R&B. He won a Grammy in 2003 for best Latin jazz album for The Gathering, by the Caribbean Jazz Project. (Read the full obituary)

Joni Sledge

Sept. 13, 1956March 10, 2017

[Sister Sledge’s] biggest hit, “We Are Family,” written by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers of Chic, came eight years after they got together and during a difficult time for the group professionally. “We were saying: ‘Well, maybe we should go to college and just become lawyers or something other than music, because it really is tough,'” Sledge later told The Guardian. (Read the full obituary)

Chuck Berry

Oct. 18, 1926March 18, 2017

Through the late ’50s and ’60s Berry defined the contours of rock ‘n’ roll and, along with peers like Little Richard and James Brown, the full-throttle energy on stage that this still-developing high-tempo, electrified style of blues required. His work influenced nearly every popular musician that came after. (Read the full obituary)

Arthur Blythe

July 5, 1940March 27, 2017

Blythe was a commanding figure whose music connected jazz’s root system with its freer outgrowths, seemingly without a second thought. It was implicit in his broad-shouldered tone — “round as Benny Carter, ardent as John Coltrane,” in the words of Gary Giddins — and through the vibrato that often amplified the sensation of fervency. (Read the full obituary)

Ikutaro Kakehashi

Feb. 7, 1930 – April 1, 2017

The 808’s candy-colored keys, clunky preset sounds, and small size made it seem more like a Fisher-Price toy than a serious instrument. But that was part of its enduring genius. There was nothing intimidating about the little Roland machines — unlike most synthesizers and drum machines of the time, which tended to be large, expensive, and hard to program. … Under Kakehashi’s lead, Roland’s engineers developed synths, effects units, drum machines, and many other devices at a furious clip. (Read the full obituary)

J. Geils

Feb. 20, 1946April 11, 2017

Geils is best known for The J. Geils Band’s No. 1 hit, “Centerfold,” which spent six weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1982 and 25 weeks on the chart cumulatively. … Even before finding mainstream success in the 1980s, the band was one of the more popular rock acts of the 1970s: It released 10 albums during that decade, touching the Top 10 with 1973’s Bloodshot. (Read the full obituary)

Sylvia Moy

Sept. 15, 1938April 15, 2017

Sylvia Moy was one of the first female producers at Detroit’s legendary Motown Records. … As a songwriter, she wrote for artists like Marvin Gaye and the Isley Brothers. But her most notable creative partnership was with Stevie Wonder. She co-wrote a number of his hits, including “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” and “My Cherie Amour.” (Read the full remembrance)

Chris Cornell

July 20, 1964May 18, 2017

Cornell played a seminal role in the origins of grunge music, founding Soundgarden in 1984 with Kim Thayil and Hiro Yamamoto. Together with other Seattle acts Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains, the band — and Cornell’s voice — would go on to define a sound that cherry-picked elements of punk and metal and distorted them into a distinctive brew all their own. (Read the full obituary)

Gregg Allman

Dec. 8, 1947May 27, 2017

The Allmans embarked on lengthy musical explorations that reflected the discipline and dynamics of classical music, the passion of soul and the improvisational spirit of jazz. Gregg Allman’s contributions were his singing, his chops on the Hammond organ and his songwriting. As a composer, he wrote songs that not only were FM radio hits back in the ’70s but eventually became popular with an entirely new generation of Allman Brothers fans. (Read the full remembrance)

David Lewiston

May 11, 1929May 29, 2017

The force behind more than two dozen recordings for the Nonesuch Explorer series, … Lewiston’s ear took him all over the globe, capturing a scope of music that may seem unimaginably broad today. (Read the full obituary)

Paul Zukofsky

Oct. 22, 1943June 6, 2017

A prize-winning youth violinist who survived the glare of life as a prodigy, Zukofsky grew up to become a supremely skilled, if not always approachable, adult musician, and a great supporter of contemporary classical music as a soloist and, later, conductor.

Rosalie Sorrels

June 24, 1933June 11, 2017

Rosalie always considered herself a singer more than a songwriter. Her heroes were people who had what she called “the heartfelt tone” – the Brazilian soprano Bidu Sayão, Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf, Patsy Cline, Sam Cooke, David Hidalgo of Los Lobos. It had nothing to do with genre and everything to do with feeling. (Read the full obituary)


Nov. 2, 1974June 20, 2017

Prodigy co-founded the Queens-based Mobb Deep in the early ’90s, alongside partner Havoc. The two became synonymous with a brand of East Coast gangsta rap that represented the ill street blues, grit and grime of pre-gentrified New York City. … The music was dark, with eerie undertones that reflected the environmental hazards and criminal exploits of day-to-day living in the hood. (Read the full obituary)

Geri Allen

June 12, 1957June 27, 2017

Allen proved more than a virtuoso able to marshal the greatest rhythm sections; she was a musical partner with prodigious ears, motivated by the percussive energy of the avant-garde, the elusive unified spark of straight-ahead swing and the expressive truth of piano balladry. (Read the full obituary)

Pierre Henry

Dec 9, 1927July 5, 2017

[Henry] helped usher in a musical revolution with a style called musique concrète — “concrete music” — collages of prerecorded and manipulated sounds from both electronic and acoustic sources. (Read the full obituary)

Christopher Wong Won

May 29, 1964July 13, 2017

Christopher Wong Won — you might know him as Fresh Kid Ice — was a pioneer rapper of Cantonese and Trinidadian descent [who] co-founded the seminal rap group 2 Live Crew. The group’s third album, As Nasty as They Wanna Be, was its most memorable: Authorities in Broward County, Fla., declared the album obscene and promised to arrest record store owners who sold it. (Read the remembrance)

Chester Bennington

March 20, 1976July 20, 2017

At the height of its popularity, Linkin Park toured relentlessly — the band reportedly tallied 342 live shows just in the year 2001. … Its debut album in 2000, Hybrid Theory, became the best-selling rock album of that decade, and the group went on to sell more than 50 million units. (Read the obituary)

Dr G Yunupingu

Jan. 22, 1971July 25, 2017

The best-selling Aboriginal musician in Australian history, … Yunupingu had a sweet tenor voice and a gentle guitar style that took him far beyond his homeland. (Read the full obituary)

Glen Campbell

April 22, 1936August 8, 2017

Campbell once said he didn’t consider himself a “country singer,” but rather a “country boy who sings.” And historian John Rumble from the Country Music Hall of Fame says Campbell had something few do: “When he was on stage and started to sing, you knew there was a star on stage,” Rumble says. “I don’t know how to explain it. It’s an aura. It’s a feeling. You knew this was somebody special.” (Read the full obituary)

Barbara Cook

Oct. 25, 1927August 8, 2017

The Atlanta-born soprano started her Broadway career in 1951, but it was her 1956 role in Leonard Bernstein’s short-lived Candide, with its popular cast recording, that ensured her immortality. … In 1975, she reinvented herself as a highly regarded concert and cabaret artist. (Read the full obituary)

John Abercrombie

Dec. 16, 1944August 22, 2017

Abercrombie was a confident but unassuming artist, whose abundant gifts did not include the knack for self-promotion. He emerged in the immediate wake of electric-guitar trailblazers like Sonny Sharrock and John McLaughlin but, at least temperamentally, he belonged more to the generation a decade or so his junior: cheerful omnivores like Pat Metheny, John Scofield and Bill Frisell. (Read the full obituary)

Walter Becker

Feb. 20, 1950Sept. 3, 2017

Walter Carl Becker founded Steely Dan with singer and songwriter Donald Fagen in 1972, and with the help of many talented session musicians, the band released a string of popular and critically acclaimed albums that combined rock, jazz and studio wizardry in unprecedented fashion. (Read the full obituary)

Holger Czukay

March 24, 1938Sept. 5, 2017

In its early-’70s prime, Can was dedicated to collective improvisation — as Czukay put it last year to Mojo, “We were not thinking. When you make music together, you have to reach a common accident.” At its best, the group sounded like a single organism. But one man, Czukay, collectively tuned them. (Read the full obituary)

Don Williams

May 27, 1939Sept. 8, 2017

Williams topped country charts with regularity through the ’70s, in songs characterized by an easygoing, Sunday-afternoon air and delivered with a smooth voice that walked the seam of a front-porch baritone and stage-ready tenor. (Read the full obituary)

Jessi Zazu

July 28, 1989Sept. 12, 2017

As a songwriter, she grew up in front of her loving audience’s eyes: Her early Those Darlins songs are sass explosions pierced through with shards of insight, while later ones reveal a woman digging into herself, facing her own vulnerabilities aided by an increasingly sophisticated feminist consciousness. (Read the full obituary)

Grant Hart

March 18, 1961Sept. 13, 2017

[Hart was] a drummer and songwriter best known as a member of Minneapolis’ widely influential punk trio, Hüsker Dü. … Ten years of collaboration [saw] Hüsker Dü transition from speed-obsessed hardcore punks to the architects of the melodic, high-concept double album Zen Arcade. The trio’s final album, Warehouse: Songs & Stories, was a relatively bright piece that would help define the sound of alternative and college rock for nearly a decade after. (Read the full obituary)

Charles Bradley

Nov. 5, 1948Sept. 23, 2017

Known for a powerful and pained rasp that he used to channel both his demons and deep gratitude, Bradley released his debut album, No Time For Dreaming, at 62. He would become a totemic artist for the Brooklyn label Daptone, best known for its revivalist ’60s soul. (Read the full obituary)

Tom Petty

Oct. 20, 1950Oct. 2, 2017

“Music,” Petty told host Melissa Block on All Things Considered in 2014, “is a real magic: It affects human beings, it can heal, it can do wonderful things. I’ve had two people contact me in my life about coming out of comas to their family playing a song to them of mine, that they had liked before they were injured. They credited the song having something to do with that. I find that fascinating. A lot of people have told me, ‘This music got me through a really hard time,’ and I can relate to that.” (Read the full obituary)

Grady Tate

Jan. 14, 1932Oct. 8, 2017

The precision and ebullient feeling in Tate’s drumming made him a first call, in the studio and on tour, for many of the finest singers of the ’60s and ’70s, including Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne and Peggy Lee. … [And] a generation of kids grew up hearing Tate’s voice on the soundtrack for Schoolhouse Rock! (Read the full obituary)

Gord Downie

Feb. 6, 1964Oct. 17, 2017

The Tragically Hip has been called Canada’s house band, the Canadian Bruce Springsteen, the most Canadian band ever. Over three decades, frontman Gord Downie and his band rose from high school buddies playing bars in Kingston, Ontario, to a national treasure, singing about Canada’s landscape and history. (Read the full obituary)

Fats Domino

Feb. 5, 1928Oct. 24, 2017

Between 1950 and 1963, Domino hit the R&B charts a reported 59 times, and the pop charts a rollicking 63 times. He outsold Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly — combined. Only Elvis Presley moved more records during that stretch — and Presley cited Domino as the early master. (Read the full obituary)

Muhal Richard Abrams

Sept. 19, 1930Oct. 29, 2017

Abrams was a brilliant, mostly self-taught pianist who combined a strong foundation in the blues with keen attunement to the shadow art of vibration and overtone. While he came up in a hard-swinging jazz context, and created some of his early work in that style, he was serious about a non-idiomatic approach to improvisation. (Read the full obituary)

Johnny Hallyday

June 15, 1943Dec. 5, 2017

Although little known to audiences outside the Francophone zone, Hallyday sold 100 million records, dominating the French rock scene for five decades. He also appeared in numerous films. The French referred to him simply as “Our Johnny.” (Read the full obituary)

Lil Peep

Nov. 1, 1996Nov. 15, 2017

Born Gustav Åhr, Lil Peep … was part of a scene that broke a new sub-genre of emo-rap, but his was the most prominent voice, and he was the artist primed to take it into the mainstream. His signature lo-fi, rock-sampling beats and gothic, vulnerable delivery caught the attention of fans and record labels when he moved to Los Angeles. (Read the full obituary)

Malcolm Young

Jan. 6, 1953Nov. 18, 2017

Over the decades, AC/DC’s swaggering, hard-driving songs — hits like “Highway to Hell,” “Back In Black” and “You Shook Me All Night Long” — were power-chord perfection to hard rock and metal fans across the globe, and made the band a multi-decade institution. (Read the full obituary)

David Cassidy

April 12, 1950Nov. 21, 2017

Within a year of his screen test, he had been signed to his life-changing role as the oldest child in a family of five aspiring pop singers and their musically gifted mother — played by Shirley Jones, Cassidy’s real-life stepmother. By the time he was 20, Cassidy was one of the world’s most recognizable television and music stars, even though he had never sung publicly until he became Keith Partridge. (Read the full obituary)

George Avakian

March 15, 1919Nov. 22, 2017

Over the course of a long career that began in his early 20s, Avakian worked closely with many jazz legends, including Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. He also shaped core perceptions around jazz’s historical recordings, creating both the first jazz album and the first jazz reissue program. And he helped put the music in relatable context, savoring his reputation as “the father of jazz album annotation.” (Read the full obituary)

Jon Hendricks

Sept. 16, 1921Nov. 22, 2017

First and foremost, he was a storyteller: funny, dexterous with language and erudite. Jon Hendricks could reference practically anything in his lyrics — from the controversy over Shakespeare’s identity to the Spanish Civil War — and make them swing. (Read the full obituary)

Dmitri Hvorostovsky

Oct. 16, 1962Nov. 22, 2017

After Hvorostovsky won the Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 1989, his success was sealed. … He told NPR in 2004 that when words fail, the communicative power of singing takes over. “When the words are becoming speechless, hopeless and helpless,” Hvorostovsky said, “at that moment, singing starts.” (Read the full obituary)

Sunny Murray

Sept. 21, 1936Dec. 8, 2017

As one of the leading figures of the free-jazz movement in the 1960s, Murray forged a revolutionary style. … Best known for his groundbreaking work with pianist Cecil Taylor and saxophonist Albert Ayler, Murray also backed a wide range of other intrepid improvisers, and performed and recorded as a leader through most of his five-decade career. (Read the full obituary)

Reggie Ossé

July 8, 1964Dec. 20, 2017

The Combat Jack Show … scored some of the rarest and rawest hip-hop interviews of an era when rap’s center of gravity started its move toward the Internet. Ossé was able to get gems out of otherwise reserved or reclusive rappers by employing a type of interview style many emulate today. (Read the full obituary)

Roswell Rudd

Nov. 17, 1935Dec. 21, 2017

Rudd personified a warm and agreeable bluster as an improviser, with a sound that was unmistakable in any setting. And those settings varied wildly, because Rudd was the sort of musician who couldn’t help but draw connections: between throwback jazz traditions and a forward-hurtling revolution; between folk customs from far-flung hemispheres; between musicians of divergent backgrounds, objectives and approaches. (Read the full obituary)

In Memoriam 2017: The Musicians We Lost