Echoes in Memoriam 2017: Those Who Left the Planet

ECHOES IN MEMORIAM: Those who left the planet in 2017

As years go, 2017 was too horrible with the musicians who left the planet. Certainly nothing like 2016 and 2015. But we still lost many great and influential musicians, most of them, like Pierre Henry, passing at an appropriate time, others, like Robert Miles and John Wetton, dying a little too young. This list contains musicians in the Echoes orbit as well as some personal influences. For a truly exhaustive list of musicians who have passed, go to the We Heart Music site.
Echoes in Memoriam


Roswell  Rudd
(November 17, 1935 – December 21, 2017)
One of the musicians who took the trombone into Free Jazz and beyond. He, along with Grachan Moncur III changed my whole conception of the instrument.

Sunny Murray
(September 21, 1936 – Dec 7, 2017
One of the founding fathers of free jazz. His drumming fueled groups led by Cecil Taylor and more.

Phil Miller
(January 22, 1949 – October 18, 2017)
One of the signature sounds of the Canterbury Scene. Miller played guitar in Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, National Health and other bands. Great to see him at NEARFEST many years ago.

Charles Cohen
(December 31, 1949 – Sept. 29, 2017
Brilliant, idiosyncratic and fearless electronic musician. He was half of the duo The Ghostwriters. Charles gained acknowledgement too late in life. Read our obit here.
Holger Czukay of Can

(March 24, 1938 – Sept. 5, 2017)
Brilliant, eccentric, fearless member of the group, Can, who never got acknowledgement for pretty much inventing sampling in the hip-hop world. Although he has been sampled. His passing leaves keyboardist Irmin Schmidt as the last Can standing. Read our tribute to him on his 70th  birthday here.
Skip Prokop
(Dec. 13, 1943 – Aug. 30, 2017)
Great Canadian drummer who played with many, most notably, Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield on Super Sessions.
John Abercrombie
(December 16, 1944 – Aug. 22, 2017)
Timeless”. His signature piece and something that says so much about this guitar player who recorded prolifically, nearly 40 solo albums, on ECM records. Also check out his incendiary work with Gateway Trio.

Goldy McJohn
(1945 – August 1,2017)
The keyboardist for Steppenwolf, responsible for those crazy organ attacks on great songs including, “Born to Be Wild.”

Peter Principle
(1954- July 17,2017] The bassist for Tuxedomoon responsible for so many great driving basslines. Read our obit here.

Pierre Henry
(Dec. 9, 1927 – July 5, 2017)
One of the three notable composers who invented sampling. (The other two are Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Schaeffer.) Hear our Obit in the Echoes Podcast.
Pierre Henry

David Lewiston
(May 11, 1929 – May 29,2017)
How many of you first heard Balinese gamelan music, the Ramayana Monkey Chant and Tibetan chants on albums like Music for the Morning of the World and Tibetan Buddhism – Tantras Of Gyütö: Mahakala. David Lewsiton made those recordings and released them on Nonesuch Records in the 60s and 70s.

Gregg Allman
(Dec. 8, 1947 – May 27, 2017)
The Allman Brothers Live at the Fillmore East remains one of the most volatile and free flowing albums ever. A powerful musician who made some bad choices, but ultimately left an indelible legacy.
Robert Miles
(Nov. 3, 1969 – May 9, 2017)
An electronic musician with voracious tastes who brought them all into his electronic music.

Clive Brooks
(1950 – May 05 2017)
British drummer who played noted for being in several progressive rock groups including Uriel, Egg, Pink Floyd, The Groundhogs and Steve Hillage.

Jonathan Demme
(Feb. 22, 1944 – April 26, 2017)
Not a musician per se, but a director with a musical vision that is in view in his film with The Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense.

Allan Holdsworth
(Aug. 6, 1946 – April 15, 2017)
Phew! A giant of the guitar who left his mark across a broad musical landscape that included stints with TempestThe Soft Machine, Tony Williams, Gong, and so many more. Read our obit here.
Alan HoldsworthChuck Berry
(Oct. 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017)
Yeah. Not an Echoes kinda guy, but his mark on Rock music is indisputable. He virtually invented the riff.
Gustav Metzger
(1926 – March 1, 2017)
Not a musician, but the creator of Auto-Destructive Art which influenced Pete Townsend to smash his guitar among other things.

Larry Coryell
(April 2, 1943 – Feb. 19, 2017)
Another giant who came of age as just a child, ingesting equal amounts of Jimi Hendrix and John Coltrane. His duet album with John McLaughlin Spaces, was transcendent. He founded The Guitar Trio with fusion guitarist John McLaughlin and flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía. His group The 11th House rode the fusion wave, although they were never captured properly on record. Read our obit here.
David Axelrod
(April 17, 1931 – Feb. 5, 2017)
A “cool” musician who was part of the SoCal jazz and rock scenes in the 60s and 70s. Check out The Edge: David Axelrod at Capitol Records 1966-1970.
John Wetton
(June 12, 1949 – Jan. 31, 2017)
The voice. The bass. John Wetton had it all in a career that included the supergroup UK with Alan Holdsworth, Bill Bruford and Eddie Jobson. I first heard him with the underrated British rock group Family and his career peaked with King Crimson in the mid-1970s. Also founded Asia.

Michael Diamond 
(Jan 27, 2017)
Michael Diamond was a wonderful, space and ambient guitarist who also had his own New Age website with reviews and interviews of New Age artists. He recorded extensively with Steven Halpern and appeared on Echoes backing up Bodhi many years ago.

Butch Trucks
(May 11, 1947 – Jan. 25, 2017)
See Greg Allman’s listing. Drummer with The Allman Brothers.
Jaki Liebezeit of Can
(May 26, 1938 – Jan. 22, 2017)
The drummer who created the “motoric” style but his playing was well beyond that as he fueled the music of Can as well as many releases on the Sky label including those of guitarist Michael Rother. See our obit here.

Maggie Roche of the Roches
(Oct. 26, 1951 – Jan. 2017)
A member of the idiosyncratic folk duo whose first album was incongruously., but nicely produced by Robert Fripp of King Crimson.
Nat Hentoff
(June 10, 1925 – Jan. 7, 2017)
Nat Hentoff was one of my music guides into the world of jazz with his books and extensive writing in the Village Voice. Read Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya: The Story of Jazz as Told by the Men who Made it, with Nat Shapiro (1955) and The Jazz Makers, also with Nat Shapiro. (1957)

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