Category Archives: Obituaries

Progressive Rock Star Greg Lake Dies at 69

Greg Lake

 

Acclaimed vocalist, guitarist, songwriter and composer Greg Lake passed away on Wednesday, December 7, 2016. He was a founding member of pioneering progressive rock bands King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

Gregory Stuart Lake was born on November 10, 1947 in Parkstone, Dorset, England. He started playing guitar at 12 and wrote his first song, “Lucky Man”, at the same age. He developed into a full-time musician at 17, playing in several rock bands until his colleague from Dorset, Robert Fripp invited him to join King Crimson as their vocalist and bassist.

Fripp and Lake got to know each other when they shared the same Dorset guitar teacher who taught them a wide range of music including classical pieces by Paganini and post WWII classics. Lake also listened to early American rock and roll and was inspired by Copeland and Prokofiev.

Greg Lake participated in two of King Crimson’s seminal albums, In the Court of The Crimson King (1969) and In The Wake Of Poseidon (1970).

Greg met keyboard maestro Keith Emerson during a North American tour in which Emerson’s band, The Nice shared the bill with King Crimson. Greg and Keith had a lot in common: diverse musical influences and a yearning to reinterpret classical works while creating new classics in a new musical genre.

After returning to England, Greg and Keith were introduced to Atomic Rooster drummer Carl Palmer, by Robert Stigwood, and subsequently they formed Emerson Lake and Palmer (ELP). This was essentially the first progressive rock superband. Emerson Lake and Palmer achieved immediate fame with their debut at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970.

 

Emerson Lake and Palmer

 

Emerson Lake and Palmer’s self-titled first album went platinum. It was produced by Greg Lake and included Lake’s song that he had written while still in school: “Lucky Man.” This now classic song became a popular part of the band’s repertoire and was played frequently on FM radio.

 

 

With ELP,  Greg Lake recorded six platinum albums between 1970 and 1977, including “Emerson, Lake & Palmer,” “Tarkus,” “Trilogy,” “Brain Salad Surgery,” the triple live album “Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends” and “Works Vol. 1“. They topped the bill at the colossal 1974 festival California Jam, playing to an audience of over 500,000 spectators.

Greg Lake was in the process of finishing his autobiography titled “Lucky Man” that is scheduled for release in 2017.

Yesterday, December 7th, I lost my best friend to a long and stubborn battle with cancer,” said Greg Lake’s manager and friend Stewart Young. “Greg Lake will stay in my heart forever, as he has always been. Despite his illness which he knew to be terminal he always took the view about his life, career and family that he was indeed a lucky man… His family would be grateful for privacy during this time of their grief. Many thanks.”

Greg Lake discography:

Solo recordings:

Too Old to Go ‘Way Little Girl/Dreams Don’t Bother Me, with The Shame (1967)
Reputation / Love, with Shy Limbs (1968)
I Believe In Father Christmas / Humbug (1975)
Greg Lake (1981)
Manoeuvres (1983)
In Concert on The King Biscuit Flower Hour (1995)
From The Beginning: The Greg Lake Retrospective (1997)
From The Underground: The Official Bootleg (1998)
From The Underground II – Deeper Into The Mine: An Official Greg Lake Bootleg (2003)
Keith Emerson and Greg Lake Live From Manticore Hall (Manticore Records, 2014)
Greg Lake / Manoeuvres (Creative Musical Arts, 2015), remastered

With King Crimson:

In The Court of The Crimson King (1969)
In The Wake of Poseidon (1970)
Epitaph (1997)
Live at the Marquee Club, 1969 (Discipline Records, 1998)

With Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Emerson, Lake and Palmer (1971)
Tarkus (1971);
Pictures At An Exhibition (1972)
Trilogy (1972)
Brain Salad Surgery (1973)
Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends… (1974)
Works, Volume 1 (1977)
Works, Volume 2 (1977)
Love Beach (1978)
Emerson, Lake & Palmer In Concert (1979)
The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1980)
The Atlantic Years (1992)
Black Moon (1992)
Live At The Royal Albert Hall (1993)
Return Of The Manticore (1993)
Works Live (1993)
In The Hot Seat (1994)
Brain Salad Surgery – Special Edition (1996)
Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival (1997)
ELP Live On The King Biscuit Flower Hour (1997)
Then And Now (1998)
Fanfare For The Common Man – 2 CD The Anthology (Sanctuary Records, 2001)
The Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 1 (Sanctuary Records, 2001)
The Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 2 (Sanctuary Records, 2001)
ELP Live in Poland, The Original Bootleg Series, From The Manticore Vaults (Sanctuary Records, 2003)
ELP Best of the Bootlegs The Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults, 2 CD Disc Set (Sanctuary Records, 2003)
Emerson, Lake & Palmer remixed by Steven Wilson (2012)
Tarkus remixed by Steven Wilson (2012)
Trilogy remixed by Jakko Jakszyk (2013)
Brain Salad Surgery remixed by Jakko Jakszyk (2013)
Emerson Lake & Palmer The Anthology (BMG, 2016)

With Emerson, Lake & Powell:

Emerson, Lake & Powell (1986)
Live In Concert (2003)
The Sprocket Sessions (2003)

Keyboard Maestro Allan Zavod Dies at 71

Australian jazz-rock and classical keyboard master and composer Allan Zavod passed away on November 28, 2016. Zavod played piano, synthesizers, organ and other keyboards with some of the most iconic jazz-rock artists such as Billy Cobham, Herbie Hancock, Jean Luc-Ponty, George Benson and Frank Zappa.

Allan Zavod was born October 16, 1945 in Melbourne, Australia. He completed a music degree at Melbourne Conservatorium in 1969. His skill as a pianist was much-admired by Duke Ellington, who after hearing him playing jazz piano, arranged for him to extend his jazz studies at the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Zavod later held a post as professor of music in Berklee.

Based in the United States of America for 30 years, Zavod played, recorded and toured with many well-known international musicians such as Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Woody Herman Orchestra, Maynard Ferguson Big Band, Cab Calloway, Billy Cobham, Gary Burton, Herbie Hancock, Jean Luc-Ponty, George Benson, and Frank Zappa.

Zavod played keyboards in Maynard Ferguson’s Chameleon (1974) and Life & Times by Billy Cobham (1976). After that, he joined the Jean Luc Ponty band and appeared on many of the band’s best recordings: Imaginary Voyage (1976), Enigmatic Ocean (1977), Cosmic Messenger (1978), Live (1979), A Taste for Passion (1979) and Civilized Evil (1980).

 

Mirage synth solo:

 

Mirage full piece:

 

In the 1980s and 1990s, Zavod recorded and toured with Frank Zappa. He played in the following Zappa albums: Fits Your 34B, No Matter Which 43B You Are (1985), All You Need is Glove (1985), Does Humor Belong in Music? (1986), You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1 (1988), Guitar (1988), You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 3 (1989), You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 4 (1991), You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 6 (1992), and Cheap Thrills (1998).

In 1996, Zavod composed the score for the stage adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” that enjoyed tremendous success across Australia.

As a film composer, Zavod wrote scores for over 40 American and Australian films, documentaries, television and theater, including: a US film score with guitarist Eric Clapton; an award winning children’s film for “Shine” director Scott Hicks; a film for Disney; the Theatre production of The Hobbit; and the long running series “A Country Practice”.

In 2009 The University of Melbourne awarded Allan Zavod the Doctor of Music for his international contribution in the field of Classical Jazz Fusion, only one of 5 recipients with an earned Doctorate for composition in the 150 year history of the University.

From 2007 to 2012 Zavod was dedicated entirely to composing. During this period his orchestral works were performed in Australia and abroad.

Allan Zavod passed away at his home accompanied by his wife Christine, his son, Zac, his mother, Annie and close friends.

Donations to the family can be made at: gofundme.com/allan-zavod

Progressive Rock Drummer Gary Parra Dies

Gary Parra
Gary Parra

Various reports indicate that American drummer Gary Parra passed away on July 30, 2016.

Parra was a member of Cartoon, one of the finest American progressive rock/avant garde-rock bands in the 1980s. Cartoon released its self-titled debut album in 1981.

“Music from Left Field” was Cartoon’s second album. Both recordings are now available as a reissue titled Sortie.

Gary Parra , Scott Brazieal, and Herb Diamant later founded another innovative band called PFS.

In recent years, Gary Parra joined the space rock collective Spirits Burning.

Spanish Cosmic Style Painter Tomás C. Gilsanz Dies

Tomás Gilsanz
Tomás Gilsanz

 

Tomás C. Gilsanz, a Spanish painter specialized in dreamlike paintings passed away April 18, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. Gilsanz was also well-known for his 30-year collaboration with Spanish ambient and melodic electronic music act Neuronium.

 

Nacimiento (birth) painting by Tomás C. Gilsanz
Nacimiento (birth) painting by Tomás C. Gilsanz

 

Tomás Corral Gilsanz was born in Paris of Spanish parents. He moved to Spain at a young age, where he worked in the embossing business until he turned 40. He became a painter afterwards, exhibiting his work during the 1970s in Spain as well as the USA, Italy, France and Andorra.

He was known as the “Pintor Cósmico” (the cosmic painter) because many of his paintings were inspired by his dreams and visions. His artwork was used for science fiction book covers, record album artwork and magazines dedicated to paranormal topics.

 

From left to right: Tomás Gilsanz, Klaus Schulze and Michel Huygen
From left to right: Tomás Gilsanz, Klaus Schulze and Michel Huygen

 

Electronic music composer and musician Michel Huygen, leader of Neuronium, collaborated with Gilsanz for over 30 years. Gilsanz designed many album covers and the visual elements of Neuronium’s live shows and videos.

 

Progressive Rock Legend Keith Emerson Dies at 71

Composer, keyboardist and synthesizer pioneer Keith Emerson, passed away on March 10, 2016 in Santa Monica (California, USA). Keith Emerson was one of the one of the greatest keyboardists in rock history and a founder of legendary progressive rock band Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Keith Noel Emerson was born November 2, 1944 in Todmorden, West Riding of Yorkshire, England. In the late 1960s, Keith Emerson’s skill as a keyboardist attracted international attention with pioneering progressive rock band The Nice. He later formed Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP) in 1970. ELP became one of the most excellent and influential progressive rock groups of the 1970s.

For more details about Mr. Emerson, read the ELP biography and his Wikipedia profile

Photo: Dr. Robert Moog and Keith Emerson in the 1970s

Former Magma Saxofonist René Garber Dies

René Garber
René Garber
French progressive music saxophonist René Garber passed away August 13, 2015. Garber appeared on several essential Magma albums.

Born in Berlin in 1945, Garber played in jazz-rock group called Contrepoint and joined Magma in 1969. He performed on seminal albums such as “Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh”, “Attahk” and “Myths and Legends.” He also appeared on Magma compilations, including “Archiw I & II” and “Inedits”.

Electronic Music Innovator Dieter Moebius Dies at 71

Dieter Moebius
Dieter Moebius

 

German/Swiss electronic music composer and performer Dieter Moebius, passed away yesterday, July 20, 2015 in Germany. Moebius was a member of some of the most iconic German krautrock and electronic bands such as Cluster, Kluster and Harmonia.

Dieter Moebius was born January 16, 1944 in St. Gallen, Switzerland. He studied art in Brussels (Belgium) and Berlin (Germany). In Berlin, Moebius met two other seminal artists, Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Conrad Schnitzler (Tangerine Dream). They founded a band called Kluster in 1969. After Schnitzler left, the remaining musicians changed the name to Cluster.

In 1973, Moebius and Roedelius created the band Harmonia with Michael Rother (Neu!). They released several recordings that decade: Musik Von Harmonia (1973), Deluxe (1975) and Tracks and Traces (1977), recorded 1976 with Brian Eno.

Ambient music pioneer Brian Eno, Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Moebius released two collaborations, Cluster & Eno (1977) and After the Heat (1978).

Moebius’ most recent recordings included Kram (2009), Ding (2011), Moebius & Tietchens (2012, with Asmus Tietchens), and Nidemonex (2014).

Chris Squire, Progressive Rock Pioneer and Yes Co-Founder, Dies at 67

Chris Squire
Chris Squire

British progressive rock bassist, vocalist and composer Chris Squire passed away last night, June 27 in Phoenix, Arizona. Chris Squire was the co-founder of legendary progressive rock band Yes and was one of the first bassists in rock music to turn the bass into a solo instrument.

Christopher Russell Edward Squire was born in central London, England on March 4, 1948. He studied music and was a choirboy during his youth. This background gave him a solid background in choir arrangement and vocal techniques. He was initially inspired by English bassists like Paul McCartney and John Entwhistle.

Squire continued to develop his style and became a member of several bands, including The Selfs and The Syn (with Andrew Jackman and Peter Banks), Mabel Greer’s Toyshop (with Peter Banks and Clive Bailey) who co-wrote “Beyond and Before”, which appeared on the first Yes album.

The collaboration between Chris Squire and Jon Anderson sprang from their mutual admiration of vocal groups, especially Simon and Garfunkel. They formed the rock group Yes in 1968 and released their first LP record in 1969. The line-up included vocalist Jon Anderson, Chris Squire on bass, guitarist Peter Banks, drummer Bill Bruford and pianist Tony Kaye. Yes gained vast popularity in the 1970s and have managed to keep a faithful following throughout the past decades.

Their album Time and a Word reached number 45 on the UK Albums Chart. Peter Banks was replaced by guitarist Steve Howe, who became an essential component of the Yes sound. Howe played his first show with Yes at London’s Lyceum Theatre.

The Yes Album, the band’s third, was released in January 1971. It was the first to exclusively feature original compositions, which the band wrote and rehearsed in a rented farmhouse in Devon. Howe quickly established himself as an integral part of the Yes sound, and played a wider variety of instruments including the Spanish vihuela. The Yes Album also united the group with their long-serving producer and engineer Eddie Offord. According to Offord, the recording sessions would last for 12 hours or more.

 

 

During the 1970s, Yes released a series of masterful albums that have become classics and reference points in the progressive rock genre: Fragile (1971), Close to the Edge (1972), the live triple album Yessongs (1973), Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973), Relayer (1974) and Going for the One (1977).

 

Yes - Tales from Topographic Oceans
Yes – Tales from Topographic Oceans

 

The superb lengthy symphony pieces faded away with the following album, Tormato, which took Yes into a more commercial direction, with shorter, pop-style songs.

In July of 2011, Yes released their first studio album in a decade, Fly From Here. Their 20th studio album marked the band’s return with producer, Trevor Horn, who produced the band’s album 90125, in 1983 and also sang for Yes on the Drama album in 1980.

Although the band had many personnel changes over the years, Chris Squire was the only member who survived through the many versions.

 

 

“GRAMMY winner and co-founder of the iconic progressive rock band Yes, Chris Squire was an exceptional bass player and talented vocalist,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. “From his humble beginnings as a church choirboy in London, to selling out arenas worldwide with Yes, it was his commitment to mastering his craft, as well as his enthusiastic demeanor, that made him one of the most respected and influential bass players of all time. We have lost an undeniably gifted musician and our heartfelt condolences go out to Chris’ family and friends, and to all of those he entertained during his impressive career.”

Chris Squire was always credited as the owner of the ‘Yes’ name. Nonetheless, the name is co-owned by Chris Squire, Alan White and Jon Anderson .

Chris Squire’s first solo work was 1975’s Fish Out Of Water, featuring Yes musicians Bill Bruford on drums and Patrick Moraz on keyboards, as well as The Syn and The Selfs musician Andrew Jackman, also on keyboards.

Chris Squire was also a member of the short-lived XYZ (eX -Yes-Zeppelin) in 1981, a group composed of Alan White (Yes) on drums and Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin). XYZ recorded several demo tracks at Chris’ home studio in Virginia Water but never released anything formal.

Squire formed a short-lived band called Cinema, along with his friend Trevor Rabin on guitar, Tony Kaye on keyboard, and drummer Alan White.

Another side project was a band called Conspiracy that included guitarist billy Sherwood. The group’s self-titled debut album contained the foundation of several songs that were to appear on Yes’ recent albums.

Renaissance Keyboardist John Tout Passes Away

John Tout
John Tout
Progressive rock keyboard player John Tout passed away on May 1st, 2015 at 4:30pm from lung failure at The Royal Free Hospital in London, England.

Tout played piano and keyboards with celebrated symphonic progressive rock band Renaissance. He recorded and performed with Renaisance durings its classic eras. After the Azure d’Or tour, Tout left the group for personal reasons. He reappeared on the Renaissance reunion album “Tuscany”.

He was an amazing musician, highly contributing to the unique sound of the band from 1970 – 1980,” said Renaissance in a statement. “He was the quiet (but funny) one in the band, always very caring towards the fans and good friend to Annie Haslam, Terence Sullivan, Jon Camp and Michael Dunford. He will always be in our hearts and music!