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2021 In Remembrance

  • Sammy Nestico
    Sammy Nestico Fan Club Facebook
    A giant in the world of big band music, Sammy Nestico lived a life filled with swing and beyond – and he worked with the biggest stars of the earlier era like Sarah Vaughan to modern rockers like Phil Collins. Paige Hansen has a remembrance.
  • Norman Simmon from a video interview 2015
    Henry Ferrini
    Ferrini Productions
    Pianist Norman Simmons is best remembered as a jazz arranger and accompanist to singers like Anita O’Day and Sarah Vaughan. Simmons died this year at age 91, and KNKX jazz host Abe Beeson says his talents went far beyond his supporting roles.
  • A closeup shot of Johnny Pacheco
    Tim Larsen
    Flutist Johnny Pacheco died on Feb. 15, and pianist Larry Harlow died on Aug. 20. These two influential musicians brought a cross-cultural phenomenon to the world through a record company called Fania.
  • Early promotional photo of James Harman
    courtesy of the artist/Facebook
    Bluesman James Harman may not have been a household name, but he was a big part of the LA blues scene and played with some of the very best in the business. John Kessler remembers James Harman.
  • Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section drummer Roger Hawkins, as seen in documentary film "Muscle Shoals."
    (Courtesy Magnolia Pictures)
    Magnolia Pictures
    Roger Hawkins went from playing drums in his Alabama church to drumming on dozens of hit singles with Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, Wilson Pickett and The Staple Singers.
  • Sonny Simmons
    Matt Brown Guildford, UK
    Avant-garde and free-jazz saxophonist Sonny Simmons died this year. Paige Hansen says that his weaving and winding music ended up mirroring his topsy-turvy life.
  • Pat Martino at a KNKX Studio Session in 2013
    Justin Steyer
    Pat Martino came back after a mid-career, life-altering experience to regain a new perspective and approach to playing the guitar. Carol Handley revisits his stellar career.
  • Curtis Fuller
    Francis Wolff
    Blue Note Records
    Curtis Fuller was a pioneer of the hard bop era in the late '50s and early '60s, appearing on some of the biggest jazz hits of the time. Fuller died this year, leaving behind a long musical legacy. KNKX jazz host Abe Beeson looks back at this underappreciated master of the trombone.
  • Jazz journalist W. Royal Stokes
    Family photo
    Courtesy of the Stokes family
    His obituary said he was “an accidental jazz critic with no formal musical training. His instrument was the typewriter.” Paige Hansen has a remembrance of beloved jazz writer W. Royal Stokes.
  • Rosalind "Roz" Cron, "Featured Soloist, International Sweethearts of Rhythm",. Bloom Chicago, photographer.  Black and white photo, 10-1/4" x 8".
    Bloom, Chicago
    Marian Tatum-Webb/Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
    The most popular, most integrated and best-documented all-women swing orchestra of the 1940s was the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. The last remaining member of that band, alto saxophonist Roz Cron, died Feb. 7. She was 95. Robin Lloyd tells Roz's story.