2008 Music Obituaries, July

World Music Central’s list of musicians, scholars and music industry professionals who left us in 2008.


Mel Galley, 60, musician. Guitarist Mel Galley was a member of the rock bands Whitesnake, Trapeze and Phenomena. Because of an accident, Mr. Galley was forced to play with a device called ‘The Claw” which allowed him to continue playing the guitar. His discography includes On the Highwire with the group Trapeze, Saints & Sinners and Slide It In with Whitesnake and Phenomena and Psychofantasy with Phenomena.

Oliver Schroer, 53, composer, musician and producer. Fiddler Mr. Schroer released his first CD Jigzup in 1993 and was honored with a Juno Award nomination. During his career he recorded with the likes of Jimmy Webb, Barry Mann and Loreena McKennitt. His recordings include Smithers, Celtic Devotion, Caminoo and Celtica. He was also an avid music educator and created a program for groups of young fiddlers and musicians called The Twisted String.

Bobby Durham, 71, musician. During his career jazz drummer and scat singer, Bobby Durham played with the likes of Lionel Hampton, Count Basie and the Duke Ellington Orchestra. He was a frequent accompanist for Ella Fitzgerald and played with the Oscar Peterson trio. He is also remembered for his acid jazz collaborations with Charles Earland and Shirley Scott.

George Tibbits, 74, composer. An architect as well as a composer, Mr. Tibbits wrote his first major work Otway Ranges Symphony as the age of 16. His other works include Golden Builders against the poems of Vin Buckley and 1976 centered on the subject of the Gippsland aborigine massacre and Battue written for wind instruments.

Hugh Mendl, 88, record producer. Mr. Mendl was an A & R executive and record producer for Decca Records for over 40 years. He was executive producer for the Moody Blues recording Days of Future Passed and assisted Decca Records in signing such acts as The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Genesis. He also produced recordings of the musicals Hello, Dolly! and Cinderella.

Earl Lee Nelson, 79, singer. Mr. Nelson was half of the 1960s singing soul duo Bob and Earl who wrote and recorded the hit “Harlem Shuffle.” Mr. Nelson would later pursue a solo career under the name of Jackie Lee and scored a hit with the dance record The Duck.

Gerald Wiggins, 86, musician. Mr. Wiggins was a jazz pianist and organist who worked with Stepin Fetchit, Louis Armstrong and Benny Carter. He later would move to Los Angeles to collaborate on music for films and television. Mr. Wiggins will also be remembered for his trio work with Andy Simpkins and Paul Humphrey. His discography includes Wiggin’ with Wig, Memory Lane and Soulidarity.

Teta Lando, musician. Mr. Lando based a career on Angola and the horrors of the country’s civil war. He is remembered for his songs “Irmao Ama Teu Irmao” (Brother, Love Your Brother) and “Eu Vou voltar” (I Will Return). His discography includes Memórias 1968-1990.

Katie Reider, 30, singer and songwriter. Ms. Reider was part of the artist cooperative label Blue Jordan Records and released her first CD Wonder in 1998. “What You Don’t Know” and “Piece of Soul” from her first CD were featured on the television series Dawson’s Creek. Her other recordings include No Retake and Simplicity.

Jo Stafford, 90, singer. Ms. Stafford was a pop and jazz singer in the late 1930s through the 1960s. Her hit singles included “The Trolley Song” with the Pied Pipers and the 1952 recording of “You Belong to Me.” Her discography also includes Autumn in New York, Ballad of the Bluess and Peace in the Valley. Ms. Stafford earned a Grammy with along with her husband for their comedy album Jonathan and Darlene Edwards in Paris.

Tauno Marttinen, 95, composer. Mr. Marttinen was a Finnish composer of contemporary classical music. His operatic works include Päällysviitta, Lea and Suuren joen laulu. Mr. Marttinen earned the Pro Finlandia medal in 1965.

Dennis Townhill, 83, organist and composer. Mr. Townhill is noted for having composed for the Anglican evensong services, as well as, serving as organist and choir master of such churches as St. Paul’s Church, St. Mary Magdalene and St. Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Artie Traum, 65, singer and musician. Mr. Traum was guitarist, producer and songwriter best remembered for his collaborations with The Band, Pat Alger, John Sebastian, Paul Butterfield, Paul Siebel and his brother Happy Traum. Part of the Greenwich Village folk scene, Mr. Traum is remembered for the recordings From the Heart, Meetings with Remarkable Friend and South of Lafayette. In addition Mr. Traum wrote a number of books on guitar playing.

Joe Beck, 62, musician. Mr. Beck was a jazz guitarist who delved into the fusion and soul jazz scenes. Mr. Beck is noted for playing with the likes of Miles Davis, Herbie Han*censormode*, Stan Getz, Sabicas and Sergio Mendez. His recordings include Rock Encounter and What a Diff’rence a Day Makes with Ester Phillips.

Norman Dello Joio, 95, composer. Mr. Dello Joio was a composer best known for his Fantasies on a Theme by Haydn. He also wrote complicated Choreography: Three Dances for String Orchestra and Variations, Chaconne and Finale. In 1957 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for music for his Meditations on Ecclesiastes.

Zezé Gonzaga, 81, singer. Ms. Gonzaga was a singer known for her appearances on Brazil’s Rádio Nacional and Rádio Clube. She formed the group Moreninhas with Bidu Reis and Odaléa Sodré. She also sang with the group Cantores do Céu and Lírio Panicali’s orchestra and Quinteto de Radamés Gnattali. Her discography includes “Inverno,” “Desci” and her best known hits “Canção de Dalila” and Óculos Escuros.”

Hiram Bullock, 52, musician. Mr. Bullock was a jazz and funk guitarist best remembered as a band member on the show Late Night with David Letterman. In addition to his work on David Letterman, Mr. Bullock worked with such artists as David Sanborn, Bob James, Paul Simon, Marcus Miller and Miles Davis. His recordings include 24th Street Band, Way Kool and From All Sides.

Johnny Griffin, 80, musician. A tenor saxophonist in the bop and hard pop music scene, Mr. Griffin played and recorded with the likes of John Coltrane, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and the Thelonius Monk Sextet and Quartet. He would go on to work with Dizzy Gillespie, Nat Adderley and was a member of The Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band. His recordings include A Blowin’ Session, White Gardenia and Dance of Passion.

Ted Hall, 48, musician and sound mixer. Mr. Hall was a guitarist best known for his collaboration with Adam Holzman and the fusion quartet The Fents.

Graeme Crallan, 50, musician. Mr. Crallan is best remembered as the drummer and one of the founders for the British new wave heavy metal sound group White Spirit. The group had singles “High Upon High” and “Backs to the Grind,” as well as a self-titled debut recording. He later went on to join the group Tank and collaborate on their recording Honour & Blood.

Horst Stein, 80, conductor. Mr. Stein was the Staatskapellmeister of the Berlin State Opera and later worked as a conductor for the Hamburg State Opera and director for the Vienna State Opera. He also lent his talent to the Bayreuth Festival and was noted for the centenary production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and was a conductor for the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra.

Wendo Kolosoy, 83, musician. Considered the father of Congolese rumba, Mr. Kolosoy was popularly known as Papa Wendo. Along with Me Taureau Bateko, Mr. Kolosoy created the orchestra Victoria Kin, which later became Victoria Bakolo Miziki; the group was known for their recording Mabele Ya Mama. Mr. Kolosoy’s recordings include Amba, On the Rumba River and Banaya Papa Wendo.

Suzanne Tamim, 30, singer. Ms. Tamim was a Lebanese singer who found fame through the Studio El Fan television show after she won the talent contest in 1996. She later went on to record the album Saken Alby. Her last song “Beirut” was in tribute to the slain Prime Minister of Lebanon Rafik Hariri.

Eula Beal, 89, singer. An operatic contralto, Ms. Beal is perhaps best remembered for her performance in the 1947 movie Concert Magic with Yehudi Menuhin. Over her career, Ms. Beal performed with the Phoenix Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the San Francisco Opera. She was also a participating member of the choral group the Silverado Singers in Napa Valley, California.

Ishmeet Singh Sodhi, 18, singer. Mr. Sodhi was 2007 winner of the Amul Star Voice of India award. He was also a participant in the Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar reality show. His only recording is the religious Gurbani CD Satgur Tumre Kwaaj Saware.

Alice Chalifoux, 100, musician. Ms. Chalifoux will be remembered as the principal harpist for the Cleveland Orchestra for more forty years. She worked under such conductors as Erich Leinsdorf, Pierre Boulez and Loren Maazel. She also taught at The Cleveland Institute of Music, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and at the Salzedo Summer Harp Colony.

Lee Young, 94, musician and singer. Mr. Young will be remembered as a swing and jazz drummer, playing over the years with the likes of Benny Goodman, Fats Waller, and Lionel Hampton. He also played with the Nat King Cole Trio in the 1950s.

Author: TJ Nelson

TJ Nelson is a regular CD reviewer and editor at World Music Central. She is also a fiction writer. Check out her latest book, Chasing Athena’s Shadow.

Set in Pineboro, North Carolina, Chasing Athena’s Shadow follows the adventures of Grace, an adult literacy teacher, as she seeks to solve a long forgotten family mystery. Her charmingly dysfunctional family is of little help in her quest. Along with her best friends, an attractive Mexican teacher and an amiable gay chef, Grace must find the one fading memory that holds the key to why Grace’s great-grandmother, Athena, shot her husband on the courthouse steps in 1931.

Traversing the line between the Old South and New South, Grace will have to dig into the past to uncover Athena’s true crime.


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