TOMMY RAMONE DIES AT AGE 65 IN NEW YORK
Thomas Erdelyi (Hungarian: Erdélyi Tamás; January 29, 1949 – July 11, 2014), better known by his stage name Tommy Ramone, was a Hungarian American record producer and musician. He was the drummer for the influential punk rock band the Ramones for four years. He had been diagnosed with bile duct cancer, and was in hospice care following unsuccessful treatment when he died on July 11, 2014.
Erdélyi was Jewish, and was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1949, to parents who had survived the Holocaust by being hidden by neighbors, though many of his relatives were victims of the Nazis. The family emigrated to the US when Ramone was aged four and he grew up in Forest Hills, New York.
Tommy and guitarist John Cummings (later to be dubbed “Johnny Ramone”) performed together in mid-60s four-piece garage band the Tangerine Puppets while in high school. In 1970, Erdelyi was an assistant engineer for the production of the Jimi Hendrix album Band of Gypsys.
When the Ramones first came together, with Johnny Ramone on guitar, Dee Dee Ramone on bass and Joey Ramone on drums, Erdelyi was supposed to be the manager, but was drafted as the band’s drummer when Joey became the lead singer, after realizing that he couldn’t keep up with the Ramones’ increasingly fast tempos. “Tommy Ramone, who was managing us, finally had to sit down behind the drums, because nobody else wanted to,” Dee Dee later recalled.
He remained as drummer from 1974 to 1978, playing on and co-producing their first three albums, Ramones, Leave Home, and Rocket to Russia, as well as the live album It’s Alive.
In a 2007 interview with the BBC, Ramone said the band had been heavily influenced by 1970s hard-rock band the New York Dolls, by singer-songwriter Lou Reed and by pop-art figure Andy Warhol. He said, “The scene that developed at CBGB wasn’t [for] a teenage or garage band; there was an intellectual element and that’s the way it was for The Ramones.”
Tommy Ramone was replaced on drums in 1978 by Marky Ramone, but handled band management and co-production for their fourth album, Road to Ruin; he later returned as producer for the eighth album, 1984’s Too Tough to Die.
Tommy Ramone wrote “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” and the majority of “Blitzkrieg Bop” while bassist Dee Dee suggested the title. He and Ed Stasium played all the guitar solos on the albums he produced, as Johnny Ramone largely preferred playing rhythm guitar. In the 1980s he produced the Replacements album Tim, as well as Redd Kross’s Neurotica.
On October 8, 2004, he played as a Ramone once again, when he joined C.J. Ramone, Daniel Rey, and Clem Burke (also known as Elvis Ramone) in the “Ramones Beat Down On Cancer” concert. In October 2007 in an interview to promote It’s Alive 1974-1996 a 2-DVD set of the band’s best televised live performances he paid tribute to his deceased bandmates:
They gave everything they could in every show. They weren’t the type to phone it in, if you see what I mean.
Ramone and Claudia Tienan (formerly of underground band the Simplistics) performed as a bluegrass-based folk duo called Uncle Monk. Ramone stated: “There are a lot of similarities between punk and old-time music. Both are home-brewed music as opposed to schooled, and both have an earthy energy. And anybody can pick up an instrument and start playing.” He joined songwriter Chris Castle, Garth Hudson, Larry Campbell and the Womack Family Band in July 2011 at Levon Helm Studios for Castle’s album Last Bird Home.
Ramone died at his home in Ridgewood, Queens, New York on July 11, 2014, aged 65. He had received hospice care following unsuccessful treatment for bile duct cancer.
In The Independent, Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith wrote that “before Tommy left the line-up, the Ramones had already become one of the most influential punk bands of the day, playing at the infamous CBGB’s in the Bowery area of New York and touring for each album incessantly.” In response to Ramone’s death, the band’s official Twitter account had been tweeting previous quotes from band members, including his own 1976 comment that New York was the “perfect place to grow up neurotic”. He added: “One of the reasons that the Ramones were so unique and original was that they were four original, unique people.”
Writing in Variety, Cristopher Morris said “Tommy’s driving, high-energy drum work was the turbine that powered the leather-clad foursome’s loud, antic sound.” Biographer Everett True told the BBC “there are hundreds, there are thousands, there are millions of melodies happening in Ramones songs… You hear their influence stretch across all of rock music from 1975 onwards… you just hear it everywhere.”
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JAZZ BASSIST CHARLIE HADEN DIES AT AGE 76
Charles Edward “Charlie” Haden (August 6, 1937 – July 11, 2014) was an American jazz double bass player, known for his long association with saxophonist Ornette Coleman, pianist Keith Jarrett, and his Liberation Music Orchestra, a group he co-led with pianist Carla Bley.
Haden moved to Los Angeles in 1957 in search of pianist Hampton Hawes. He turned down a scholarship at Oberlin College, which did not have an established jazz program at the time, to attend Westlake College of Music in Los Angeles. His first recordings were made that year with Paul Bley, with whom he worked until 1959. He also played with Art Pepper for four weeks in 1957, and with Hampton Hawes from 1958-1959.
He began recording with Ornette Coleman shortly after, including the seminal The Shape of Jazz to Come. Haden’s folk-influenced style complemented the microtonal, Texas blues elements of Coleman. In 1959, the Coleman Quartet moved to New York City and secured a residency at the Five Spot Café. This residency lasted six weeks, and represented the beginnings of free, or avant-garde jazz. The Ornette Coleman Quartet played everything by ear, as Haden explained: “At first when we were playing and improvising, we kind of followed the pattern of the song, sometimes. Then, when we got to New York, Ornette wasn’t playing on the song patterns, like the bridge and the interlude and stuff like that. He would just play. And that’s when I started just following him and playing the chord changes that he was playing: on-the-spot new chord structures made up according to how he felt at any given moment.” Haden’s narcotics addiction forced him to leave Coleman’s band in August 1960. He went to rehabilitation in September 1963 at Synanon houses in Santa Monica, California and San Francisco, California. It was at Synanon House that he met his first wife, Ellen. They moved to New York City’s upper West Side where their four children were born: Josh first and then his triplet daughters Petra, Rachel and Tanya.
He resumed his career in 1964, working with John Handy and Danny Zeitlin’s trio, and performing with Archie Shepp in California and Europe. He also did freelance work from 1966 to 1967, performing with Henry “Red” Allen, Pee Wee Russell, Attila Zoller, Bobby Timmons, Tony Scott, and the Thad Jones—Mel Lewis Orchestra. He recorded with Roswell Rudd in 1966, and returned to Ornette Coleman’s group in 1967. This group remained active until the early 1970s. Haden was known for being able to follow the shifting directions and modulations of Coleman’s improvised lines skillfully.
Haden joined Keith Jarrett’s trio and his ‘American Quartet’ from 1967 to 1976 with Paul Motian and Dewey Redman. The group also consisted of percussionist Guilherme Franco. He also played in the collective Old and New Dreams, which consisted of Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, and Ed Blackwell, who were members of Coleman’s band. These musicians believed they understood and could perform Coleman’s improvisational concept, and applied it to their work in this band, continuing to play Coleman’s music in addition to their own original compositions.
Haden went on to lead the Liberation Music Orchestra in the 1970s. Largely arranged by Carla Bley, their music was very experimental, exploring the realms of free jazz and political music at the same time; the first album focused specifically on the Spanish Civil War. They also quote lines from songs such as “Dixie,” “The Star Spangled Banner,” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which the LMO intentionally satirized and portrayed ironically. The LMO has had a shifting membership comprising a “who’s who” of jazz instrumentalists, and consisted of twelve members from multicultural backgrounds. Some of the members included Ahnee Sharon Freeman (French horn), Joe Daley (tuba), Michael Rodriguez (trumpet), Miguel Zenón (alto saxophone), Chris Cheek (tenor saxophone), Curtis Fowlkes (trombone), Steve Cardenas (guitar), and Matt Wilson (drums). Through Bley’s arranging, they have concentrated on a wide palette of brass instruments, including tuba, French horn, and trombone, in addition to the more standard trumpet and reed section. The group won multiple awards in 1970, including France’s Grand Prix du Disque from the Académie Charles Cros, and Japan’s Gold Disc Award from Swing Journal.
In 1971, while on tour with the Ornette Coleman Quartet in Portugal (at the time under a fascist dictatorship), Haden decided to dedicate a performance of his “Song for Che” to the anticolonialist revolutionaries in the Portuguese colonies of Mozambique, Angola, and Guinea-Bissau. The following day, he was detained at Lisbon Airport, jailed, and interrogated by the DGS (the Portuguese secret police). He was promptly released the same day after the intervention of the American cultural attaché, though he was later interviewed by the FBI in the United States about his choice of dedication.
The LMO’s 1982 album The Ballad of the Fallen commented again on the Spanish Civil War as well as the political instability and United States involvement in Latin America. Haden’s involvement with the LMO began at the height of the Vietnam War, out of his frustration that so much of the government’s energy was spent on the war (in which there were many fatalities), while so many internal problems in the United States (such as poverty, civil rights, mental illness, drug addiction, and unemployment), were neglected. Haden’s goal was to use the LMO to amplify unheard voices of oppressed people. He wanted to express his solidarity with progressive political movements from around the world by performing music that made a statement about how to initiate and celebrate liberating change.
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In 1989, Haden was featured at the Montreal Jazz Festival, and performed in concert every night of the festival, with different combos and bands. Each of these events was recorded, and most have been released in the series The Montreal Tapes. In 1995, Haden released Steal Away: Spirituals, Hymns and Folk Song with pianist Hank Jones, an album based on traditional spirituals and folk songs. Haden both played on the album and produced it. In late 1996, he collaborated with Pat Metheny on the album Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories), exploring the music that influenced them in their childhood experiences in Missouri with what they call “contemporary impressionistic Americana”. Haden was awarded his first Grammy award for the album, for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance.
In 1997, classical composer Gavyn Bryars wrote an extended adagio for Charlie Haden. Instrumentation included strings, bass clarinet, and percussion. The piece was recorded with the English Chamber Orchestra on the album Farewell to Philosophy, and is a synthesis of jazz and classical chamber music, featuring resonant pizzicato notes and gut strings in imitation of Haden’s bass sound.
In 2001, Haden won the Latin Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz CD for his album Nocturne, which contains boleros from Cuba and Mexico. In 2003 he won the Latin Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Performance for his album Land of the Sun. Haden reconvened the Liberation Music Orchestra in 2005, with largely new members, for the album Not In Our Name, released on Verve Records. The album dealt primarily with the contemporary political situation in the United States.
Haden’s 2008 release, Rambling Boy, features several members of his immediate family, along with Béla Fleck, Pat Metheny, Elvis Costello, Rosanne Cash, Bruce Hornsby, and several others. The album consists [of] his co-producer Ruth Cameron, and instrumentalists Haden, his wife Ruth Cameron, his four children (Petra, Rachel, Tanya, and Josh Haden), and his son-in-law Jack Black (each of whom have careers in music). The album, released on September 23, 2008, hearkens back to his days of playing Americana and bluegrass music with his parents on their radio show. The idea came to Haden when his wife Ruth Cameron gathered the Haden family together for his mother’s 80th birthday, and they all sang “You Are My Sunshine” in the living room. This reunited Haden with an idea that was in his mind for a long time, and reminded him of his country and bluegrass roots. Rambling Boy was intended to connect music from his early childhood in the Haden family band to the new generation of the Haden family as well. The album includes songs made famous by the Stanley Brothers, the Carter Family, and Hank Williams, in addition to fabled traditional songs and original compositions. A concert tour with Quartet West (with a new drummer) took place in the late summer of 2008, the year the album was released.
In 2009, Swiss film director Reto Caduff released a film about Haden’s life, entitled Rambling Boy. It premiered at Telluride and Vancouver International Film Festivals festivals in 2009. In the summer of 2009, Haden performed many concert reunions with Ornette Coleman at the Meltdown Festival in Southbank, London. He also performed and produced duet recordings with Hank Jones on the album Steal Away, and with Kenny Baron on the album Kenny Baron Night and the City. In February 2010, Haden and Hank Jones recorded a companion to Steal Away: Spirituals, Hymns and Folk Songs called Come Sunday. Jones died three months after the recording of the album. In 2012, Haden was a recipient of the NEA Jazz Masters Award. The award was given to him and four other honorees at Lincoln Center in New York City.
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[There is more on Charlie’s bio: read it at http://www.wikipedia.com/wiki/Charlie_Haden ]
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LORIN MAAZEL, RENOWNED CONDUCTOR AND COMPOSER, DIES AT 84
CASTLETON, Va. (AP) — Lorin Maazel, a world-renowned conductor whose prodigious career included seven years at the helm of the New York Philharmonic, died Sunday at his home in Virginia. He was 84.
Maazel died at Castleton Farms from complications following pneumonia, according to a statement by The Castleton Festival, an annual festival Maazel founded with his wife in 2009. Maazel was rehearsing and preparing for the festival at the time of his death, and the death also was announced on Maazel’s official website.
Known for his relentless energy and passion for precision, Maazel guided nearly 200 orchestras in at least 7,000 opera and concert performances during 72 years at the podium, according to a biography posted on his website.
Maazel, an American born in Paris in 1930, took his first violin lesson at age 5. A dazzling prodigy, he was 7 when he was invited by Arturo Toscanini to conduct the NBC Symphony. His New York Philharmonic debut came five years later, in 1942. By age 15, he had conducted most of the major American orchestras. At 16, he entered the University of Pittsburgh to study language, mathematics and philosophy and played the violin with the Pittsburgh Symphony to help pay his tuition.
In 1960, at age 30, he became the first American to conduct at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany. He served as artistic director and chief conductor of the Deutsche Oper Berlin for five years starting in 1965.
He was music director of the Cleveland Orchestra from 1972 to 1982. He then served briefly as general manager, artistic director and principal conductor of the Vienna State Opera, the first American to do so. He was also music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony from 1988 to 1996.
Maazel also was music director of the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio for about a decade until 2002. That year, he was chosen to replace Kurt Masur as music director of the New York Philharmonic — America’s oldest orchestra. Maazel served there for seven years and was with the orchestra at the time of its landmark visit to Pyongyang, North Korea in 2008.
“I am deeply saddened and shocked by the news of Lorin Maazel’s death,” New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert said in an emailed statement. “For decades he was a major force in the musical world, and truly an inspiration for generations of American musicians.”
Gilbert added: “Personally, I am grateful to him, not only for the brilliant state of the Orchestra that I inherited from him, but for the support and encouragement he extended to me when I took over his responsibilities.”
A free concert scheduled Monday in Central Park will be dedicated to Maazel, the New York Philharmonic said in the statement.
Dominique Mayer, director of the Vienna State Opera, also said in an emailed statement that he was deeply saddened by Maazel’s passing.
“I knew Lorin Maazel as a versatile artist, magnificent conductor and a … fine person,” Mayer said, calling his work “inspiring.”
Maazel also was a composer, although to lesser acclaim. His first opera, “1984,” based on George Orwell’s novel, met with largely negative reviews.
Maazel founded the Castleton Festival to mentor young musicians and to bring new energy to classical music with performances showcasing young talent. Maazel told the audience on the opening night of this year’s festival on June 28 that working with young artists was “more than a labor of love — a labor of joy,” the festival’s statement said.
Maazel made more than 300 recordings, including works by Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Mahler, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Richard Strauss. He won 10 Grand Prix du Disques, according to his website.
In addition to his wife Dietlinde Turban Maazel, the conductor is survived by four daughters, three sons and four grandchildren.
He was the second leading conductor to die in 2014 following the death in January of Italian conductor Claudio Abbado, 80, who had held major posts at La Scala in Milan, the Vienna State Opera and the Berlin Philarmonic, among others.
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Other Notable Musicians’ Deaths…
15: Aqeel Ahmed, 80, Indian Agra gharana vocalist and musician.
14: Vange Leonel, 51, Brazilian singer, writer, feminist and LGBT activist, ovarian cancer.
13: Lorin Maazel, 84, American conductor, violinist, composer and music director (New York and Vienna Philharmonics, Cleveland Orchestra), complications of pneumonia.
11: Charlie Haden, 76, American jazz bassist and bandleader, three-time Grammy Award winner (Nocturne, Land of the Sun, The Shape of Jazz to Come), post-polio syndrome; Tommy Ramone, 65, Hungarian-born American Hall of Fame record producer and drummer (The Ramones), bile duct cancer.
10: Chris Grier, American musician (To Live and Shave in L.A.) and journalist, cardiac arrest.
9: Lorenzo Álvarez Florentín, 87, Paraguayan composer and violinist, heart attack; John Spinks, 60, British guitarist, singer and songwriter (The Outfield), liver cancer; Ken Thorne, 90, British television and film score composer (Superman II, Help!), Academy Award winner (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum).