With the passing of beloved saxophonist Charlies Neville, the world of music has suffered another tragic loss. Neville, who was 79, died of pancreatic cancer on Thursday, April 26, 2018.
As a member of the Grammy-winning Neville Brothers Band, Charlies Neville achieved mainstream success with his brothers Aaron, Art, and Cyril Neville. Affectionately known as “Charlie the horn man,” the New Orleans-born musician was remembered by U.S. Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
Charles Neville was a legendary New Orleanian and an amazing musician. Our whole community is praying for the Neville family and we’ll be celebrating Charles’s legacy as @JazzFest begins this weekend. https://t.co/Je0LuZ4e8y
— Rep. Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) April 26, 2018
On April 20, 2018, Electronic Dance Music superstar Avicii, 28, was found dead in his hotel room in Muscat, Oman. Avicii, whose, birth name was Tim Bergling, was an incredibly popular and successful DJ, musician, and composer who commanded a six-figure fee for each live performance. Sadly, it was announced on April 26, 2018, that Aviccii apparently took his own life when his family broke their silence and issued the following statement.
“He really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness. He could not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace. Tim was not made for the business machine he found himself in; he was a sensitive guy who loved his fans but shunned the spotlight. Tim, you will forever be loved and sadly missed. The person you were and your music will keep your memory alive.”
Less than two weeks ago, on April 17, 2018, the country music world was stunned by the death of Randy Scruggs, who was 64-years-old. Scruggs died after a brief illness and his cause of death was not revealed.
The son of legendary bluegrass banjo player, Earl Scruggs, Randy was a guitar player, producer, and studio owner. Randy Scruggs was named CMA Musician of the Year three times, and he won four Grammy awards.
Scruggs worked with a virtual who’s who of American country music, including Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, George Strait, Bobby Bare, Charlie Daniels, Randy Travis, Vince Gill, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Ricky Skaggs, Tom T. Hall, Marty Stuart, Bruce Hornsby, Miranda Lambert, Wilco and the Dixie Chicks.
Gospel music artist Yvonne Staples passed away on April 10, 2018, at the age of 80 from colon cancer. As a member of the renowned American gospel music family, The Staple Singers, Yvonne Staples became a member of the group in 1971. Yvonne performed as a background singer, and she sang on some of the group’s most famous recordings, including “Respect Yourself,” “Let’s Do It Again,” and “I’ll Take You There.”
Founded by her father, “Pops” Staples in 1951, The Staples Singers toured the world, sold millions of records, and recorded two No. 1 singles. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999, and they were honored with a lifetime achievement award at the 2005 Grammy Awards. In addition to singing, Yvonne Staples also worked as the group’s business manager.
A giant of jazz piano, Cecil Taylor passed away at the age of 89 on April 5, 2018. Taylor was one of the founders of the Free Jazz movement, and he used his training as a classical pianist to become one of the great improvisers of modern jazz. He was known for his physical approach to his playing, which gave a fierce percussive flavor to Taylor’s music.
During his lifetime, Taylor received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1973, a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters award in 1990, a MacArthur fellowship in 1991, and the Kyoto Prize in 2014. According to his legal guardian, Adam C. Wilner, Mr. Taylor had been ill for some time. Mr.Wilner did not reveal any cause of death.
While Charles Neville, Avicii, Randy Scruggs, Yvonne Staples, and Cecil Taylor are no longer with us, their music lives on in their recordings. They represent a wide range of musical styles and genres, all of with are capable of enriching our lives.Take a moment to listen to their music, even if you are not familiar with their work, and experience the creative genius of these outstanding artists.