Drummer and vocalist Diego Fopiani, founder of trailblazing Andalusian progressive rock band Cai, died on April 4, 2019. He had been sick for the last few years and had stopped drumming although he still made music on the piano.
Cai was a groundbreaking progressive rock band that incorporated symphonic rock, jazz fusion and Andalusian flamenco elements. Cai released an acclaimed independent album, Mas allá de nuestras mentes diminutas in 1978.
Additional albums included Noche abierta, Canción de la primavera and a comeback reunion album titled Ocho metáforas de luz.
British musician and producer Jon Hiseman who founded seminal British progressive rock and jazz-rock bands Colosseum, Tempest and Colosseum II died June 12, 2018.
Philip John “Jon” Hiseman was born June 21, 1944 in Manchester, England. He studied piano and violin as a child. However, he became passionately interested in percussion during his early teens.
From 1969 to 1978 he led three groundbreaking jazz-rock groups: Colosseum, Tempest and Colosseum II.
He later recorded several albums with his wife, saxophonist Barbara Thompson.
Jon Hiseman released a solo album titled ‘A Night In The Sun’ with a band led by Márcio Montarroyos, made in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1982.
In 1994 Colosseum got together again. The reformed group released a live reunion album and a new studio recording, ‘Bread and Circuses’ in 1997, followed ‘Tomorrows Blues’ (2003) and ‘Time On Our Side’ (2014).
Martyn Hansen wrote about about Hiseman titled ‘Playing The Band – the musical life of Jon Hiseman’, published in 2011.
French progressive rock and jazz violinist Didier Lockwood died February 18, 2018 in Paris. He was known for his virtuosity and experimentation on the electric violin.
Didier Lockwood was born in Calais, France in 1956. He grew up in a family of artists. His father was a school and violin teacher, his mother an amateur painter, and his elder brother Francis, a talented pianist very attracted to jazz. Didier fell in love with the violin and entered the Conservatory at the age of six.
In addition to going to school and participating in swimming competitions, the young violinist attended the Conservatory and received daily private classes.
Didier Lockwood joined the Lyric Orchestra of the Théâtre Municipal de Calais at 13 years old. He was 16 when he was doubly rewarded for his efforts and his virtuosity by winning the First Prize of violin of the National Conservatory of Calais, as well as the SACEM First National Prize of contemporary music.
The young violinist admired classical music and its eminent composers. However, a new passion soon developed: improvised music and jazz. At 17, he chose the legendary progressive music band Magma rather than attending the Paris Conservatory.
In 1973, he made his debut with Magma, along with drummer Christian Vander. Lockwood recorded two albums with Magma: Theatre Du Taur Concert (1975) and Live/Hhaï (1975).
In 1976, Lockwood joined Zao, a progressive band created by two former members of Magma. He participated in two albums, Kawana (1976) and Live! (1976).
Jazz became his next focus in 1978. Lockwood worked with well known French jazz musicians: André Ceccarelli, François Jeanneau, Didier Levallet and Henri Texier.
During the 1980s, Lockwood carried out all sorts of jazz projects, ranging from string trios and quartets to solo and fusion groups. He also collaborated with UZEB, Gordon Beck, Martial Solal and Michel Petrucciani.
In 1994, he celebrated his 20 year career anniversary. The following year, he made his first American album: New York Rendez-vous.
In March 2000, he released, Tribute to Stéphane Grappelli, which received many awards since its release: Diapason d’Or, Choc Jazzman, and Selection FIP.
In the spring of 2001, Didier created, along with Indian dancer Raghunath Manet and percussionist Ri Murugan, the show Omkara, a musical encounter between jazz and Indian music.
In 2003 Lockwood released a double album titled Globe-Trotter, featuring solo and quartet performances.
In 2005, Lockwood and Caroline Casadesus, created a new show, the Jazz and the Diva that brought together jazz and classical music.
In 2009, Didier released Lockwood Brothers with his brother Francis.
After several years touring Europe alongside Mike Stern, Billy Cobham, John Abercrombie and Victor Bailey, he reformed the Didier Lockwood Group (DLG), with Jean-Marie Ecay, Paco Séry and Linley Marthe.
Didier Lockwood received numerous accolades and awards, including Les Victoires de la Musique, le Django d’or, le Prix de la Sacem et de l’Académie du Jazz and Knight of the Legion of Honor and Officer of National Merit and Arts and Letters.
British progressive rock and jazz fusion guitarist Phil Miller died October 18, 2017.
Philip Paul Miller was born on January 22, 1949 in Barnet, Hertfordshire. He was a member of various British bands, including Delivery and the highly influential Canterbury progressive rock bands Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, National Health. He later formed Short Wave and released various solo projects.
In 2005 and 2006, Miller toured with the re-united Hatfield and the North.
German progressive rock and electronic music guitarist, keyboardist and composer Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock died October 14th, 2017 of kidney failure.
Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock was born January 30, 1951 in Duisburg, Germany. In 1971 he formed a psychedelic rock band called Impuls. During the 1970s, Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock experimented with electronic keyboards and built his own studio.
In the early 1980s, Hoffmann-Hoock co-founded the band Cosmic Hoffmann. In 1982, Hoffmann-Hoock traveled to India. His music started to incorporate Asian influences from India and Bali.
In 1986, Hoffmann-Hoock founded Mind Over Matter, an iconic band that mixed electronica with music of the Far East. Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock played electric guitar and keyboards, as well Indian sitar.
Mind Over Matter released 12 recordings with various lineups.
Acclaimed jazz guitarist John Abercrombie died on August 22, 2017 after a long illness.
John Laird Abercrombie was born on December 16, 1944 in Port Chester, New York. In a press release, ECM Records’ Tina Pelikan wrote: “He will be much missed, for his sensitive musicality, his good companionship, and his dry humor which enhanced many a session. He leaves behind an extensive discography which will be studied as long as people continue to play jazz guitar.
John made his first recording for ECM, the appropriately-titled “Timeless”, in the summer of 1974, with his lifelong friend Jack DeJohnette on the drums, and Jan Hammer on organ. Over the next four decades, he was active as leader, co-leader and sideman on dozens of ECM projects. A creative writer of jazz tunes, John also loved to play freely as much as he loved to play standards. Many of his albums combine all of these resources, unified by his fluid, silvery tone and improvisational eloquence. In conversation he would speak of his enduring fondness for Jim Hall and Wes Montgomery, primary influences, and also of the liberating examples of Ornette Coleman and Jimi Hendrix; Bill Evans’s sense of lyricism was also of crucial importance to him.
John Abercrombie led a number of very fine bands, and he was particularly proud of his last quartet with Marc Copland on piano, Drew Gress on double bass, and Joey Baron on drums. This quartet released two albums, “39 Steps” and “Up and Coming”, the latter just released in January 2017.
Highlights in his recording career were many and include the Gateway trio albums with Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette, the duo albums with Ralph Towner, the Special Editions albums (with DeJohnette, Lester Bowie and Eddie Gomez), Jan Garbarek’s “Eventyr”, Charles Lloyd’s “The Water Is Wide”, Collin Walcott’s “Grazing Dreams” (where John and Don Cherry play together), Enrico Rava’s “The Pilgrim and the Stars”, Kenny Wheeler’s “Deer Wan” … the list goes on.
John died peacefully at Hudson Valley Hospital outside of Peekskill, NY, in the presence of his family.”
British guitarist and composer Allan Holdsworth passed away yesterday, April 16, 2017. He was 70 years old. Holdsworth was one of the finest guitarists in the jazz and rock fields, who developed a unique style and technique. His chords were admired and imitated by many.
Allan Holdsworth was born August 6, 1946 in Bradford, England. Allan Holdsworth played in some of the best progressive rock and jazz-rock bands of the 1970s: Tempest, Soft Machine, The New Tony Williams Lifetime,Nucleus, Pierre Moerlen’s Gong, Jean-Luc Ponty band and progressive rock supergroup UK.
Later, Allan Holdsworth released a series of solo albums and collaborations with leading jazz and fusion musicians such as Stanley Clarke and Chad Wackerman. In addition to the electric guitar he used and recorded with a new device called SynthAxe.
“There is no greater measure of a life well lived than the amount of people he had impacted, and by that measure the artist Allan Holdsworth lived a very good life. This man took a plank of wood, a few strings, and some wires and transformed people’s lives in a way that few others have. The ultimate genius of the rarest kind. One of THE greatest musicians ever lived. So much history with Allan,” said producer Leonardo Pavkovic of MoonJune Music, who worked with Holdsworth 2001-2016.
Allan Holdsworth is survived by his daughters Emily and Louise, his son Sam, and his granddaughter Rori.
Larry Coryell, one of the finest jazz fusion guitarists in the United States passed away on February 19, 2017 of natural causes.
He was born in Galveston, Texas on April 2, 1943 although he grew up in the Seattle, Washington area. His mother introduced him to the piano at the age of 4. Coryell later switched to guitar and played rock music while in his teens.
By 1965 he had moved to New York City and started taking classical guitar lessons. He was inspired by 1950s rock and roll, jazz guitarists and 1960s rock bands.
In the late 1960s he started fusing jazz with rock and psychedelic music. In late 1969 he recorded “Spaces”, the album for which he was most well-known. It was a spectacular guitar celebration that also included fellow guitarist John McLaughlin who was also exploring the territory between rock and jazz at the time. The album featured Miroslav Vitous on acoustic bass and Billy Cobham on drums.
In 1973, Coryell formed seminal jazz-rock band Eleventh House. The group released Introducing Eleventh House with Larry Coryell (1974), Level One (1975), Aspects (1976) and Larry Coryell and the Eleventh House at Montreux (1978).
Throughout the next decades, Coryell worked with some of the best jazz and rock musicians, releasing numerous recordings.
Coryell’s most recent albums were Night Of Jazz Guitars (In & Out Records, 2010), Montgomery (Patuxent Records, 2010), Duality (Random Act Records, 2011), The Lift (Wide Hive Records, 2013), Heavy Feel (Wide Hive Records, 2015)
It is with great sadness and a heavy heart, that I have to report we have lost my dearest friend, brother, bandmate and long term musical collaborator, John Wetton, who has passed away after a long and tenacious battle with cancer. He will be remembered as one of the world’s finest musical talents, and I for one of many was wholly blessed by his influence. It was a massive privilege for me to have worked with this genius so closely on our numerous projects together over the years. His bass playing was revolutionary. His voice was from the gods. His compositions – out of this world. His sense of melody and harmony – unreal. He was literally a ‘special one’.
But John was much more than a gigantic and unique musical talent. He was a supremely intelligent man, marked with his great observations and wisdom about life; all couched within his wicked sense of humor. The wit was dark and deep, only fully perceptible to those on his same wavelength. I was fortunate enough to be able to be on that wavelength, and discover that we had much in common. Many of his personal life experiences were reflected in his lyrical contributions to the songs. His heart was always in the music. That was John, through and through. It was always about – the music.
As a person, he was fiercely loyal, loving and generous, particularly to those he cared about. But he could be as stubborn as a mule or as gracious as a nobleman, depending on the mood that grabbed him on any particular day. There were some who couldn’t read his brilliant mind and complex personality. Some found him charming, others infuriating. But however you found John, there was no denying his rare talent as a musician and songwriter was second to none.
Both of us having been brought up with similar backgrounds in provincial England, we shared a love of many things – sport, and in particular – football, English church music, current affairs, comedy, literature, you name it….pretty much everything that 2 kids from the sticks were exposed to in our youth.
Our planets seemed to be immediately in alignment when we first met in early 1981. There was a laddish camaraderie that grew between us as we became as close as two non-related brothers could be. He was an avid reader and film enthusiast, something he pursued with great interest. This helped inspire him to some wonderful lyrics to the literally hundreds of songs we composed together. Back then, we immediately hit the ground running as we composed much of the debut ASIA album together and forged a formidable partnership which lasted right up until now. It was a wholly natural process for us, whereby we could knock out 2 or 3 songs in an afternoon. They were always greeted with our gentlemanly handshake and smiles once we had wrapped up another one in the bag.
Above all else though, his passion for life was to the fore. The battles he endured throughout were immense and well documented. Firstly with alcohol, which he so resolutely overcame, then open heart surgery and finally cancer, which sadly was to take his life in the end. He once observed to me that this disease is a “merciless assassin”. Just another example of his perception and the descriptive language that he was so richly blessed with. He took all of these battles on board with great bravery and almost a ‘laissez-faire’ attitude, tinged with his inimitable wry wit.
To say I will miss my him greatly is beyond understatement. He was such an inspiration to me. We were planning another album, but sadly he was not well enough to complete it. I feel heartbroken about this, as I knew John thought it was to be one of our finest albums to date. I remain as proud as ever of our Wetton/Downes writing partnership. I am hoping one day that I will be able to finish it, and that it will be appreciated by all those who loved his and our music, and most importantly, a legacy he would have been proud of.
Life will not be the same without him. And words are not really enough to describe the loss I feel right now, and the many friends and fans all over the World will also be feeling. It is the end of an era for all of us. But we will soldier on – the music of John Wetton needs to be heard loud and clear from the rooftops.
Dearest John, may you rest in peace brother.
Please join me in sending our sincerest thoughts and prayers to Lisa, Dylan and the entire Wetton family at this difficult time.
Acclaimed rock musician John Wetton passed away this morning, Tuesday, January 31st, 2017, after a long battle against colon cancer.
John Wetton was born on June 12, 1949 in Willington, Derbyshire. He became famous as vocalist and bassist of pioneering progressive rock band King Crimson in the early 1970s. John wetton rec orded three albums with King Crimson: Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (1973), Starless and Bible Black (1974), and Red (1974)]
At the end of the 1970s, Wetton formed progressive rock supergroup UK together with Eddie Jobson (Curved Air, Roxy Music and Frank Zappa), Allan Holdsworth (Tempest, Soft Machine, The New Tony Williams Lifetime and Gong) and Bill Bruford (Yes and King Crimson). UK released two now classic progressive rock albums, UK (1978) and Danger Money (1979).
In the early 1980s, John Wetton was one of the founders of the highly successful FM-radio oriented rock group Asia. The group released the hit song ‘Heat of the Moment’ in 1982.
John Wetton also enjoyed a fruitful solo career, including the album Battle Lines, and formed iCon with Asia bandmate Geoff Downes. In 2006 the original line-up of Asia got together again and toured the world several times to promote four new studio albums.
John Wetton had been planning to tour with Asia for the band’s upcoming US arena tour with rock band Journey and, after the success of his solo Studio Recordings Anthology, continue working on the ongoing re-issue program of his solo albums through his own Primary Purpose label.
Drumer Carl Palmer released the following statement: “With the passing of my good friend and musical collaborator, John Wetton, the world loses yet another musical giant.
John was a gentle person who created some of the most lasting melodies and lyrics in modern popular music. As a musician, he was both brave and innovative, with a voice that took the music of ASIA to the top of the charts around the world. His ability to triumph over alcohol abuse made him an inspiration to many who have also fought that battle.
For those of us who knew him and worked with him, his valiant struggle against cancer was a further inspiration. I will miss his talent, his sense of humor and his infectious smile.
May you ride easy, my old friend.”
John is survived by his recently wed wife Lisa and 18 year old son Dylan, brother Robert and mother Peggy.
The very last studio song of John Wetton’s career was the closing track on the Asia album “Gravitas” and included the lyrics “Think the best of me, till we meet again.”
headline photo: John Wetton – photo by Mike Inns
Progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, ambient electronic music and beyond