James “Jimmy” Trujillo (June 30, 1961 to October 29, 2014) was known for his long tenure with Conjunto Colores. J.T., as his friends called him, played with many greats in all types of music, such as jazz vocalist Leon Thomas, keyboardist Richard Kermode (Janis Joplin, Santana), David Amram, bassist Marshall Hawkins, Richie Cole, Jon “Bowser” Bauman of Sha Na Na, The Drifters, The Coasters, Lesley Gore, The Shirelles, local artists Hazel Miller, Vic Cionetti, Ron Henry and Mistura Fina, among many others. Jimmy was also a clinician with drummers Gerry Brown, Mark Craney, percussionists Alex Acuña, José Rossy (Weather Report) and guitarist Robben Ford. He hosted “Salsa Con Jazz”, on Sundays and Monday Night Jazz on Mondays.
Jimmy was endorsed by Yamaha Guitars, GHS Strings and Markbass Amplifiers.
KUVO (89.3 FM) will broadcast a special edition of Salsa con Jazz this Sunday, from 4:00 until 6:00 p.m. featuring a posthumous tribute with an hour long “Jammin’ for Jimmy” live music performance featuring some of Jimmy’s former band mates and friends. Don’t miss it.
On Sunday afternoon, November 30th, there will be another posthumous homage to Jimmy, at Jazz@Jacks on the upper level of the Denver Pavilions on the 16th Street Mall, Downtown Denver. It starts at 1:00 p.m. and will conclude at 5:00 p.m. with many musicians playing to honor the memory of the late Jimmy Trujillo.
There was a mass for Mr. Trujillo on Friday, November 7th, at St. Dominic’s Church. Mr. Trujillo was an organ donor for medical research and requested cremation.
* * * * *
JIMMY LEE RUFFIN – WHAT BECOMES OF THE BROKENHEARTED – DIES
Jimmy Lee Ruffin (May 7, 1936 – November 17, 2014), born to Eli and Ophelia Ruffin, was an American soul singer, and elder brother of David Ruffin of The Temptations.
He had several hit records between the 1960s and 1980s, the most successful being the Top 10 classic “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted”.
Jimmy Ruffin was born in Collinsville, Mississippi, and was approaching his second birthday when his brother David was born. As children, the brothers began singing with a gospel group, the Dixie Nightingales. In 1961, Jimmy became a singer as part of the Motown stable, mostly on sessions but also recording singles for its subsidiary Miracle label, but was then drafted for national service. After leaving the Army in 1964, he returned to Motown, where he was offered the opportunity to join the Temptations to replace Elbridge Bryant. However, after hearing his brother David, they hired him for the job instead so Jimmy decided to resume his solo career. Jimmy Ruffin recorded for Motown’s subsidiary Soul label, but with little success.
In 1966, he heard a song about unrequited love written for The Spinners, and persuaded the writers that he should record it himself. His recording of “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” became a major success. The song reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #6 on the R&B Chart. It also initially reached #10 in the UK singles chart, rising to #4 when it was reissued in the UK in 1974. “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” remained Ruffin’s best-known song. Follow-ups in the US were successful, with “I’ve Passed This Way Before” and “Gonna Give Her All the Love I’ve Got” reaching the US charts in late 1966 and early 1967.
Jimmy Ruffin found success in the United States difficult to sustain, and began to concentrate instead on the British market. In 1970, “Farewell Is a Lonely Sound”, “I’ll Say Forever My Love” and “It’s Wonderful (To Be Loved By You)” each made the UK top ten, and he was voted the world’s top singer in one British poll. He also teamed up with brother David to record the album I Am My Brother’s Keeper, a modestly successful album for Motown that included the songs “When The Love Hand Comes Down”, “Your Love Was Worth Waiting For” and a cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me”. Following the success of his first two hits, Ruffin found it hard to maintain an identity, as most of his songs were later covered by other Motown artists, most prominently “Everybody Needs Love,” a hit when covered by Gladys Knight & The Pips, “Maria (You Were The Only One)”, a hit for Michael Jackson and “If You Let Me,” a minor hit for Eddie Kendricks. In addition, he had recorded the first version of The Temptations hit “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep.”
He then left Motown, and recorded for the Polydor and Chess labels, where he recorded “Tell Me What You Want.” In 1980, Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees produced his album Sunrise and the hit single “Hold On To My Love”, which reached #10 in the US and #7 in the UK, on the RSO label.
In the 1980s, Ruffin moved to live in Britain, where he continued to perform successfully. In December 1984 he collaborated with Paul Weller of The Style Council for his benefit single “Soul Deep.” This went under the name of The Council Collective and Jimmy appeared with Paul on Radio 1 to say he is involved because his father worked down the mines and “he understands the suffering.” In 1986 he collaborated with the British pop group Heaven 17, singing “A Foolish Thing To Do” and “My Sensitivity” on a 12″ EP record. He also recorded duets with both Maxine Nightingale and Brenda Holloway. Later, Ruffin hosted a radio show in the UK for a time, and became an anti-drug advocate following the 1991 drug overdose death of his brother David. Ruffin was portrayed by Lamman Rucker in the 1998 mini-series The Temptations.
Following the 2010 release of his album I Am My Brother’s Keeper, Jimmy Ruffin had been writing and recording songs for a new album that he had planned to release on his recent 74th birthday (May 7, 2013). It was never issued.
In 2012, a compilation album titled, “There Will Never Be Another You”, including his hit songs “What Becomes of The Broken Hearted”, and “Hold On To My Love” had been released.
Jimmy Ruffin had been living in the Las Vegas, Nevada area in recent years. On October 17, 2014, it was reported that Ruffin was gravely ill and was taken into an intensive care unit in a Las Vegas hospital. Ruffin died on November 17, 2014 in Las Vegas, aged 78.
His siblings were Davis (David) Eli, Rita Mae (Marie), Rosa (all deceased) and Quincy B. His children are Arlet, Philicia, Jimmie Ray (deceased), Jimmie L., Ophelia, Camilla.
* * * * *
DAVID APPELL (THE APPLEJACKS) – PRODUCER & ARRANGER – DIES
David Appell (March 24, 1922 – November 18, 2014) was an American musician, musical arranger, and record producer born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Appell (pronounced “AP-el”) is associated mainly with the Cameo-Parkway record label, in whose history he played a substantial part. He started working as an arranger for several United States Navy big bands in the mid-1940s during his service in World War II, including Jimmie Lunceford’s black orchestra.
He later arranged for dance orchestras, including Benny Carter and Earl “Fatha” Hines. He recorded for a while on Decca Records as the Dave Appell Four, until Paul Cohen of Decca suggested he change the group name to the Applejacks. Appell also became a publisher, joining ASCAP in 1955, collaborating with Max Freedman.
He appeared prominently in the 1956 Alan Freed film, Don’t Knock the Rock, and worked for a while as the studio band and music director on the Ernie Kovacs TV and radio shows in Philadelphia. Next Appell and the Applejacks were playing in Las Vegas, but they soon began to pine for their hometown and returned to Philadelphia, where they started working for Cameo Records, a label founded by Kal Mann and Bernie Lowe.
Appell did background vocals, session work as a guitarist, engineering, arranging, and producing. The first hit artist on the Cameo label was Charlie Gracie (“Butterfly”). Appell’s band backed Gracie on that million-seller in 1957, and on the singer’s subsequent hits, “Fabulous” and “Ninety-Nine Ways” and “Wanderin’ Eyes.” In 1958 Appell and his group backed John Zacherle on his Top 10 novelty hit “Dinner With Drac”.
In the summer of 1958, Appell got an idea for a song from the Philadelphia String Band of a marching-type song with a dance beat. He wrote an instrumental song called “The Mexican Hat Rock,” a jumped-up version of the old “Mexican Hat Dance,” that he had his studio band record. The song was released under their own name on Cameo that fall and became a big dance hit on American Bandstand, reaching # 16 on the charts. The Applejacks also charted with “Rocka-Conga” (# 38) later in the year.
Appell went on to become the leader of Cameo-Parkway’s house band, backing such artists as Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, The Dovells, Dee Dee Sharp, and The Orlons. Appell also arranged their records and, in many cases, produced, and even co-wrote with Kal Mann, like “Let’s Twist Again,” “Bristol Stomp,” “Mashed Potato Time,” and “South Street.” These were the years of the twist and other dance crazes, in the launching of which Appell played a vital role. Appell left Cameo in 1964.
In the 1970s he had success with his productions for Tony Orlando and Dawn, including the # 1 hits “Knock Three Times” (1970) and “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” (1973), on Bell Records in New York. Appell’s co-producer was Hank Medress, a founding member of The Tokens musical group.
* * * * *
Other Notable Musicians’ Deaths…
18: Dave Appell, 92, American musician, musical arranger and record producer.
17: Jeff Fletcher, 36, British rock guitarist (Northern Uproar), traffic collision; Doktor Flori (sv), 35, Albanian rapper, singer and songwriter, cardiac arrest; Jimmy Ruffin, 78, American soul singer (“What Becomes of the Brokenhearted”).
14: Morteza Pashaei, 30, Iranian pop singer, stomach cancer.
13: Mike Burney, 70, English saxophonist (Wizzard), cancer.
12: Buddy Catlett, 81, American jazz musician.
11: Big Bank Hank, 58, American rapper (The Sugarhill Gang), kidney complications of cancer.