Keyboardist Armen Chakmakian, from a later edition of Shadowfax, passed on the sad news of Nevitt’s passing on March 15 from complications of diabetes and heart disease. He was 55. Stu was a founding member of Shadowfax and appeared on all their albums until the death of reed player Chuck Greenberg signaled the band’s end. There’s a nice obit in the LA Times.
Nevitt was an underrated drummer who negotiated the tricky time signatures and global grooves of Shadowfax with striking precision and drive. He was a drummer in the post fusion mold, which meant he had chops to spare, yet he could also negotiate the more delicate and fragile melodies that Shadowfax often explored. He pounded out ferocious polyrhythmic charges on tunes like “Oasis” and coloristic filigree on “Angel’s Flight.” He apparently had a solo project called The Marion Kind due for release.
Klaus Dinger wasn’t just at the opposite pole from Stu Nevitt, he was completely off the chart. Dinger, along with Jaki Leibezeit of Can, brought a mechanistic approach to drumming with Kraftwerk and then Neu! and La Dusseldorf. There are drum machines that couldn’t get as metronomic as Dinger, and that’s a compliment to the late musician who centered the often psychedelic soundscapes of Michael Rother and Ralf Hutter and Florian Scheider, giving us a pathway into this new sound world they created in the 1970s. Check out his monster mantric groove on tunes like “Hallogallo” from Neu!’s debut.