Simón Díaz, one of Venezuela’s most popular singers and comedians who also earned recognition worldwide for his prowess as a player of the cuatro, a guitar-like instrument, died on Feb. 19 at his home in Caracas. He was 85.
His death was announced by his daughter, Bettsimar Díaz, who did not offer further details. In recent years he had been treated for Alzheimer’s disease.
Known as “Uncle Simón,” Mr. Díaz had been a presence in the cultural life of Venezuela and neighboring South American and Caribbean countries since the mid-1950s. He first gained attention as the host of a radio show of folk music called “The Plainsman,” whose popularity led to a recording contract and more than 50 albums and CDs in which he mixed traditional songs and original compositions.
Sean Potts, who learned to play the tin whistle from his grandfather in the 1930s and for a time made an international career out of it as a founding member of the traditional Irish band the Chieftains, died on Feb. 11 in Dublin. He was 83.
His death was confirmed by his son Sean.
Mr. Potts was self-conscious as a boy because, unlike many of his peers, he was drawn to the old music his grandfather John would play with friends in the parlor of his house in Dublin. The grandfather, who had moved to the city from County Wexford, in southeastern Ireland, in 1891, favored tin whistles and uilleann pipes.
Sometimes, after tilling the soil of the small plot where the family grew vegetables during World War II, John Potts would play a tune, then insist that his grandson try to match him note for note.
NY Times February 19, 2014
Bob Casale, Guitarist in Devo, Dies at 61
By PETER KEEPNEWS
Bob Casale, a guitarist who was an original member of the influential rock band Devo, died on Monday. He was 61.
His death was announced by the bassist Gerald Casale, his brother and fellow band member, who said in a statement that the cause was “conditions that lead to heart failure.” He provided no further details.
Devo (the name is short for “devolution”) began in Akron, Ohio, in the early 1970s and first attracted national attention in 1977 with a frenzied version of the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
The group’s first album, “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!,” produced by Brian Eno, was released in 1978; its off-kilter rhythms, deadpan lyrics and use of electronics quickly attracted a following and had a strong influence on the music that came to be known as new wave.
The singer Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale were the band’s leaders. Mr. Mothersbaugh said in a statement on Tuesday that Bob Casale was “integral in Devo’s sound.”
The band’s popularity peaked with the 1980 album “Freedom of Choice,” which was certified platinum and contained Devo’s best-known song, “Whip It,” which reached the Billboard Top 20 and became an MTV favorite.
Devo broke up in 1991, but re-formed five years later. In 2010 the band released “Something for Everybody,” its first new album in 20 years.
Mr. Casale’s survivors include his wife, Lisa; a son, Alex; and a daughter, Samantha.
Devo’s longtime drummer Alan Myers died last year.
Given the youth movement charged with energizing the Super Bowl’s non-football offerings—a trend embodied by Bruno Mars at this year’s halftime show—it was only fair that the old folks should make a counterattack in the ads, long held to be the true locus of entertainment value at the annual orgy of sex and violence, consumerism and military display. Thus we were treated to the unsavory vision of Bob Dylan sliding into Chevrolet’s latest sedan and gurgling patriotic garbage about American pride above ambient guitar chords.
If not for the fussy make-up and hair-styling, one might have surmised—or at least hoped—that this one-time countercultural figurehead and voice of protest was not pitching Chrysler’s cars in a multi-million-dollar commercial, but was instead doing public service announcements for the last vestiges of American industry. Indeed, since there’s no way that Dylan needs the money, one could have been forgiven for assuming this was his gift to the American people, a gratis boost of confidence during a long stretch of crisis.
But Dylan had clearly cashed the check for this paean so mendacious that it achieved a melancholy far beyond and below that of “Song to Woody” or “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.”
Pete Seeger, the singer, folk-song collector and songwriter who spearheaded an American folk revival and spent a long career championing folk music as both a vital heritage and a catalyst for social change, died Monday. He was 94 and lived in Beacon, N.Y.
His death was confirmed by his grandson, Kitama Cahill Jackson, who said he died of natural causes at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
Mr. Seeger’s career carried him from singing at labor rallies to the Top 10 to college auditoriums to folk festivals, and from a conviction for contempt of Congress (after defying the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s) to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at an inaugural concert for Barack Obama.
For Mr. Seeger, folk music and a sense of community were inseparable, and where he saw a community, he saw the possibility of political action.
In his hearty tenor, Mr. Seeger, a beanpole of a man who most often played 12-string guitar or five-string banjo, sang topical songs and children’s songs, humorous tunes and earnest anthems, always encouraging listeners to join in. His agenda paralleled the concerns of the American left: He sang for the labor movement in the 1940s and 1950s, for civil rights marches and anti-Vietnam War rallies in the 1960s, and for environmental and antiwar causes in the 1970s and beyond. “We Shall Overcome,” which Mr. Seeger adapted from old spirituals, became a civil rights anthem.
Mr. Seeger was a mentor to younger folk and topical singers in the ‘50s and ‘60s, among them Bob Dylan, Don McLean and Bernice Johnson Reagon, who founded Sweet Honey in the Rock. Decades later, Bruce Springsteen drew the songs on his 2006 album, “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions,” from Mr. Seeger’s repertoire of traditional music about a turbulent American experience, and in 2009 he performed Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” with Mr. Seeger at the Obama inaugural. At a Madison Square Garden concert celebrating Mr. Seeger’s 90th birthday, Mr. Springsteen introduced him as “a living archive of America’s music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along.”
Although he recorded more than 100 albums, Mr. Seeger distrusted commercialism and was never comfortable with the idea of stardom. He invariably tried to use his celebrity to bring attention and contributions to the causes that moved him, or to the traditional songs he wanted to preserve.
Mr. Seeger saw himself as part of a continuing folk tradition, constantly recycling and revising music that had been honed by time.
During the McCarthy era Mr. Seeger’s political affiliations, including membership in the Communist Party in the 1940s, led to his being blacklisted and later indicted for contempt of Congress. The pressure broke up the Weavers, and Mr. Seeger disappeared from television until the late 1960s. But he never stopped recording, performing and listening to songs from ordinary people. Through the decades, his songs have become part of America’s folklore.
“My job,” he said in 2009, “is to show folks there’s a lot of good music in this world, and if used right it may help to save the planet.”
Peter Seeger was born on May 3, 1919, to Charles Seeger, a musicologist, and Constance de Clyver Edson Seeger, a concert violinist. His parents later divorced.
He began playing the ukulele while attending Avon Old Farms, a private boarding school in Connecticut. His father and his stepmother, the composer Ruth Crawford Seeger, were collecting and transcribing rural American folk music, as were folklorists like John and Alan Lomax. He heard the five-string banjo, which would become his main instrument, when his father took him to a square-dance festival in North Carolina.
Young Pete became enthralled by rural traditions. “I liked the strident vocal tone of the singers, the vigorous dancing,” he is quoted in “How Can I Keep From Singing,” a biography by David Dunaway. “The words of the songs had all the meat of life in them. Their humor had a bite, it was not trivial. Their tragedy was real, not sentimental.”
Planning to be a journalist, Mr. Seeger attended Harvard, where he founded a radical newspaper and joined the Young Communist League. After two years, he dropped out and came to New York City, where Mr. Lomax introduced him to the blues singer Huddie Ledbetter, known as Lead Belly. Mr. Lomax also helped Mr. Seeger find a job cataloging and transcribing music at the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress.
Mr. Seeger met Mr. Guthrie, a songwriter who shared his love of vernacular music and agitprop ambitions, in 1940, when they performed at a benefit concert for migrant California workers. Traveling across the United States with Mr. Guthrie, Mr. Seeger picked up some of his style and repertory. He also hitchhiked and hopped freight trains by himself, trading and learning songs.
When he returned to New York later in 1940, Mr. Seeger made his first albums. He, Millard Lampell and Mr. Hays founded the Almanac Singers, who performed union songs and, until Germany invaded the Soviet Union, antiwar songs, following the Communist Party line. Mr. Guthrie soon joined the group.
During World War II the Almanac Singers’s repertory turned to patriotic, antifascist songs, bringing them a broad audience, including a prime-time national radio spot. But the group’s earlier antiwar songs, the target of an F.B.I. investigation, came to light, and the group’s career plummeted.
Before the group completely dissolved, however, Mr. Seeger was drafted in 1942 and assigned to a unit of performers. He married Toshi-Aline Ohta while on furlough in 1943.
When he returned from the war he founded People’s Songs Inc., which published political songs and presented concerts for several years before going bankrupt. He also started his nightclub career, performing at the Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village. Mr. Seeger and Paul Robeson toured with the campaign of Henry Wallace, the Progressive Party presidential candidate, in 1948.
Mr. Seeger invested $1,700 in 17 acres of land overlooking the Hudson River in Beacon and began building a log cabin there in the late 1940s. In 1949, Mr. Seeger, Mr. Hays, Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman started working together as the Weavers. They were signed to Decca Records by Gordon Jenkins, the company’s music director and an arranger for Frank Sinatra. With Mr. Jenkins’s elaborate orchestral arrangements, the group recorded a repertoire that stretched from “If I Had a Hammer” to a South African song, “Wimoweh” (the title was Mr. Seeger’s mishearing of “Mbube,” the name of a South African hit by Solomon Linda), to an Israeli soldiers’ song, “Tzena, Tzena, Tzena,” to a cleaned-up version of Lead Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene.” Onstage, they also sang more pointed topical songs.
In 1950 and 1951 the Weavers were national stars, with hit singles and engagements at major nightclubs. Their hits included “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” and Mr. Guthrie’s “So Long (It’s Been Good to Know Yuh),” and they sold an estimated four million singles and albums.
But “Red Channels,” an influential pamphlet listing performers with suspected Communist ties, appeared in June 1950 and listed Mr. Seeger, although by then he had quit the Communist Party. He would later criticize himself for having not left the party sooner, though he continued to describe himself as a “communist with a small ‘c.’ ”
Despite the Weavers’ commercial success, by the summer of 1951 the “Red Channels” citation and leaks from F.B.I. files had led to the cancellation of television appearances. In 1951, the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee investigated the Weavers for sedition. And in February 1952, a former member of People’s Songs testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee that three of the four Weavers were members of the Communist Party.
As engagements dried up the Weavers disbanded, though they reunited periodically in the mid-1950s. After the group recorded an advertisement for Lucky Strike cigarettes, Mr. Seeger left, citing his objection to promoting tobacco use.
Shut out of national exposure, Mr. Seeger returned primarily to solo concerts, touring college coffeehouses, churches, schools and summer camps, building an audience for folk music among young people. He started to write a long-running column for the folk-song magazine Sing Out! And he recorded prolifically for the independent Folkways label, singing everything from children’s songs to Spanish Civil War anthems.
In 1955 he was subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee, where he testified, “I feel that in my whole life I have never done anything of any conspiratorial nature.” He also stated: “I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this.”
Mr. Seeger offered to sing the songs mentioned by the congressmen who questioned him. The committee declined.
Mr. Seeger was indicted in 1957 on 10 counts of contempt of Congress. He was convicted in 1961 and sentenced to a year in prison, but the next year an appeals court dismissed the indictment as faulty. After the indictment, Mr. Seeger’s concerts were often picketed by the John Birch Society and other rightist groups. “All those protests did was sell tickets and get me free publicity,” he later said. “The more they protested, the bigger the audiences became.”
By then, the folk revival was prospering. In 1959, Mr. Seeger was among the founders of the Newport Folk Festival. The Kingston Trio’s version of Mr. Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” reached the Top 40 in 1962, soon followed by Peter, Paul and Mary’s version of “If I Had a Hammer,” which rose to the Top 10.
Mr. Seeger was signed to a major label, Columbia Records, in 1961, but he remained unwelcome on network television. “Hootenanny,” an early-1960s show on ABC that capitalized on the folk revival, refused to book Mr. Seeger, causing other performers (including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Peter, Paul and Mary) to boycott it. “Hootenanny” eventually offered to present Mr. Seeger if he would sign a loyalty oath. He refused.
He toured the world, performing and collecting folk songs, in 1963, and returned to serenade civil rights advocates, who had made a rallying song of his “We Shall Overcome.”
Like many of Mr. Seeger’s songs, “We Shall Overcome” had convoluted traditional roots. It was based on old gospel songs, primarily “I’ll Overcome,” a hymn that striking tobacco workers had sung on a picket line in South Carolina. A slower version, “We Will Overcome,” was collected from one of the workers, Lucille Simmons, by Zilphia Horton, the musical director of the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tenn., which trained union organizers.
Ms. Horton taught it to Mr. Seeger, and her version of “We Will Overcome” was published in the People’s Songs newsletter. Mr. Seeger changed “We will” to “We shall” and added verses (“We’ll walk hand in hand”). He taught it to the singers Frank Hamilton, who would join the Weavers in 1962, and Guy Carawan, who became musical director at Highlander in the ‘50s. Mr. Carawan taught the song to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at its founding convention.
The song was copyrighted by Mr. Seeger, Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Carawan and Ms. Horton. “At that time we didn’t know Lucille Simmons’s name,” Mr. Seeger wrote in his 1993 autobiography, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.” All of the song’s royalties go to the “We Shall Overcome” Fund, administered by what is now the Highlander Research and Education Center, which provides grants to African-Americans organizing in the South.
Along with many elders of the protest-song movement, Mr. Seeger felt betrayed when Bob Dylan appeared at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival with a loud electric blues band. Reports emerged that Mr. Seeger had tried to cut the power cable with an ax, but witnesses including the producer George Wein and the festival’s production manager, Joe Boyd (later a leading folk-rock record producer), said he did not go that far. (An ax was available, however. A group of prisoners had used it while singing a logging song.)
As the United States grew divided over the Vietnam War, Mr. Seeger wrote “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” an antiwar song with the refrain “The big fool says to push on.” He performed the song during a taping of “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” in September 1967, his return to network television, but it was cut before the show was broadcast. After the Smothers Brothers publicized the censorship, Mr. Seeger returned to perform the song for broadcast in February 1968.
During the late 1960s Mr. Seeger started an improbable project: a sailing ship that would crusade for cleaner water on the Hudson River. Between other benefit concerts he raised money to build the Clearwater, a 106-foot sloop that was launched in June 1969 with a crew of musicians. The ship became a symbol and a rallying point for antipollution efforts and education.
In May 2009, after decades of litigation and environmental activism led by Mr. Seeger’s nonprofit environmental organization, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, General Electric began dredging sediment containing PCBs it had dumped into the Hudson. Mr. Seeger and his wife also helped organize a yearly summer folk festival named after the Clearwater.
In the ‘80s and ‘90s Mr. Seeger toured regularly with Arlo Guthrie, Woody’s son, and continued to lead singalongs and perform benefit concerts. Recognition and awards arrived. He was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972, and in 1993 he was given a lifetime achievement Grammy Award. In 1994, President Bill Clinton handed him the National Medal of Arts, America’s highest arts honor, given by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1999, he traveled to Cuba to receive the Order of Félix Varela, Cuba’s highest cultural award, for his “humanistic and artistic work in defense of the environment and against racism.”
In 1996, Mr. Seeger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence. Arlo Guthrie, who paid tribute at the ceremony, mentioned that the Weavers’ hit “Goodnight, Irene” reached No. 1, only to add, “I can’t think of a single event in Pete’s life that is probably less important to him.” Mr. Seeger made no acceptance speech, but he did lead a singalong of “Goodnight, Irene,” flanked by Stevie Wonder, David Byrne and members of the Jefferson Airplane.
Mr. Seeger won Grammy Awards for best traditional folk album in 1997, for the album “Pete,” and in 2009, for the album “At 89.” He also won a Grammy in the children’s music category in 2011 for “Tomorrow’s Children.”
Mr. Seeger kept performing into the 21st century, despite a flagging voice; audiences happily sang along more loudly. He celebrated his 90th birthday, on May 3, 2009, at a Madison Square Garden concert — a benefit for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater — with Mr. Springsteen, Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp, Joan Baez, Ani DiFranco, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, Emmylou Harris and dozens of other musicians paying tribute. In August he was back in Newport for the 50th anniversary of the Newport Folk Festival.
Mr. Seeger’s wife, Toshi, died in 2013, days before the couple’s 70th anniversary. Survivors include his son, Daniel; his daughters, Mika and Tinya; a half-sister, Peggy; and six grandchildren, including the musician Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, who performed with him at the Obama inaugural. His half-brother Mike Seeger, a folklorist and performer who founded the New Lost City Ramblers, died in 2009.
Through the years, Mr. Seeger remained determinedly optimistic. “The key to the future of the world,” he said in 1994, “is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.”
“Mercedes Sosa: The Voice of Latin America”, the title of a documentary that opens today at the Quad Cinema in NY, is no hyperbole. She was such a voice just as much as Um Khaldoun was the voice of the Arab world. The Argentinian nueva cancion legend died four years ago at the age of 74 and the film is a loving tribute made up of her performances, reminiscences by a wide range of musicians from Pablo Milanes to David Byrne, and interviews conducted with the great musician up until her death of endocrinal and respiratory ailments. After her passing, President Kirchner declared 3 days of mourning in marked contrast to the gorilla military leaders who drover her out of the country in 1979.
The idea for the film came from her son Fabián Matus who is seen in conversations with family members throughout the film who help to understand the personal fears and insecurities of a musician who had achieved immortality. Indeed, as the film nears its conclusion we learn that the greater her popularity, the more lonely she felt—so much so that bouts of depression left her feeling suicidal.
Of mestizo, French and American Indian ancestry, Sosa was born to a desperately poor family in the state of Tucumán in Argentina. Her father shoveled coal in open pit furnaces in a steel mill and died relatively young. Her social protest ballads came directly out of the experience of being oppressed.
I heard Mercedes Sosa in Carnegie Hall on October 18, 1987. Just to refresh my memory of her performance, I found the N.Y. Times review that stated:
Ms. Sosa has a full folk contralto that is especially beautiful when she dips to the bottom of her lower register. But it can also rise to express a staunch defiance. Ms. Sosa, whose pan-Latin American taste in songs has earned her the nickname ”the voice of the Americas,” performed a program that included everything from mountain folk tunes in which she accompanied herself on the drums to chromatically advanced pop ballads (Alejandro Lerner’s ”Solo le pido a Dios, or ”All I Ask of God,” was particularly wrenching) and stalwart political anthems. The spectrum of songwriters ranged from Argentine composers like Mr. Lerner, Nito Mestre, and Leon Gieco to Cuba’s Silvio Rodriguez and Brazil’s Milton Nascimiento.
In 1987 Sosa symbolized the hopes of the Latin American left as well as activists in the United States like me who were working in Nicaragua. You can see concert footage of Sosa in Nicaragua from that time that includes the remarks of ordinary Nicaraguans who went to the concert feeling that something important was happening in their country.
Nearly thirty years later, the Central American revolution remains little more than a memory. Nueva Cancion was the art form that expressed the determination of an oppressed people to take control of their economies and produce for human need rather than private profit.
While the specific forms of the struggle have changed from guerrilla warfare to the electoral front, Mercedes Sosa will be an inspiration to a new generation of artists following her example. The film ends with Sosa performing alongside René Perez, a young tattooed rapper who leads Calle 13, a Puerto Rican band that is known for its social commentary.
For people who are part of René Perez’s generation in New York who are unfamiliar with Sosa, I recommend a trip down to the Quad to learn about one of the hemisphere’s most important musicians.
Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers, whose hits with his older brother, Don Everly, carried the close fraternal harmonies of country tradition into pioneering rock ‘n’ roll, died Friday, according to the group’s official website.
He died in a hospital in Burbank, near his home in Southern California, of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease after lifelong smoking, according to reports from The Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press. He was 74.
With songs like “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Bye Bye Love,” “Cathy’s Clown,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream” and “When Will I Be Loved?,” which was written by Phil Everly, the brothers were consistent hitmakers in the late 1950s and early 1960s. They won over country, pop and even R&B listeners with a combination of clean-cut vocals and the rockabilly strum and twang of their guitars.
They were also models for the next generations of rock vocal harmonies for the Beatles, Linda Ronstadt, Simon and Garfunkel and many others who recorded their songs and tried to emulate their precise, ringing vocal alchemy. The Everly Brothers were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in its first year, 1986.
The Everlys carried a mountain-music blend, rooted in gospel and bluegrass, into pop songs that reached teenagers. They often sang in close tandem, with Phil Everly on the higher note and the brothers’ two voices virtually inseparable. That sound was part of a long lineage of country “brother acts” like the Delmore Brothers, the Monroe Brothers and the Louvin Brothers. In an interview in November, Phil Everly said: “We’d grown up together, so we’d pronounce the words the same, with the same accent. All of that comes into play when you’re singing in harmony.”
Paul Simon, whose song “Graceland” includes vocals by Phil and Don Everly, said in an email on Saturday morning: “Phil and Don were the most beautiful sounding duo I ever heard. Both voices pristine and soulful. The Everlys were there at the crossroads of country and R&B. They witnessed and were part of the birth of rock and roll.”
The Everly Brothers’ music grew out of a childhood spent singing. Phil Everly was born in Chicago on Jan. 19, 1939, the son of a Kentucky coal miner turned musician, Ike Everly, and his wife, Margaret. The family had left Kentucky, where Don Everly was born in 1937, for musical opportunities in Chicago. They soon moved on to Iowa, where Ike Everly found steady work playing country music on live radio. In Shenandoah, Iowa, Ike Everly got his own show — at 6 a.m. on the radio station KMA — and in 1945, “Little Donnie” and the six-year-old “Baby Boy Phil” started harmonizing with their parents on the air. They went to school after they performed.
The Everly family moved on to radio shows in Indiana and Tennessee. In 1955 the teenage brothers settled in Nashville, where they were hired as songwriters before starting the Everly Brothers’ recording career.
They had a blockbuster in 1957: “Bye Bye Love,” a song written by the husband-and-wife team Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. It reached No. 1 on the country chart, No. 2 on the pop chart and No. 5 on the rhythm and blues chart, selling more than a million copies. They followed it with another Bryants song, “Wake Up Little Susie,” that was a No. 1 pop hit and another million-seller. For the next few years, they were rarely without a Top 10 pop hit. Wmong them were “All I Have to Do Is Dream” in 1957, “Bird Dog” and “Devoted to You” in 1958, “(Till) I Kissed You” in 1959, and, in 1960 alone, “Let It Be Me,” “Cathy’s Clown” (written by Don and Phil Everly) and “When Will I Be Loved.”
Their hitmaking streak ended in the United States in the early 1960s, lasting slightly longer in Britain. But the Everlys continued to tour and make albums, notably the 1968 “Roots,” a thoughtful foray into country-rock which included a snippet of a 1952 Everly Family radio show. They had a summer variety series on CBS in 1970.
But the brothers were growing estranged. In 1973, at a concert in California, Phil Everly smashed his guitar and walked offstage, and Don Everly announced the duo’s breakup. They recorded solo albums for the next decade before reuniting in 1983, with a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London that was filmed as a documentary. They returned to the studio for a 1984 album, “EB84,” that was produced by the British pub-rocker Dave Edmunds and included a song written for the Everlys by Paul McCartney; they made two more studio albums together in the 1980s.
Among musicians the Everlys had generations of admirers. The Beatles included Everly Brothers songs in their live sets and modeled the vocal harmonies of “Please Please Me” on “Cathy’s Clown.” The Beach Boys recorded the Everlys song “Devoted to You.” Linda Ronstadt had a Top 10 hit with “When Will I Be Loved” in 1975. On his four-album set “These Days” in 2006, the country songwriter Vince Gill recorded a duet with Phil Everly, “Sweet Little Corinna,” that paid homage to the early Everlys sound.
Simon and Garfunkel included “Bye Bye Love” on their “Bridge Over Troubled Water” album, and years later — after their own separations and reunions — brought together the Everly Brothers to be their opening act for their 2003 “Old Friends” tour. The brothers reportedly had not spoken to each other for three years before that.
“Personally I loved them both,” Mr. Simon wrote. “Phil was outgoing, gregarious and very funny. Don is quiet and introspective. When Simon and Garfunkel toured with the Everlys in 2003, Art and I would take the opportunity to learn about the roots of Rock and Roll from these two great historians. It was a pleasure to spend time in their company.”
The Everly Brothers played their last headlining tour in 2005 in Britain. They were also heard together on a 2010 album by Don’s son, Edan Everly, in a dark song about child stardom called “Old Hollywood.”
Phil Everly is survived by his brother and by their mother, Margaret Everly; his wife, Patti; his sons, Jason and Chris, and two granddaughters.
In 2013, younger musicians released two full-length albums of Everly Brothers songs: “What the Brothers Sang” by Dawn McCarthy and Bonnie Prince Billy (the indie rocker Will Oldham), and “Foreverly” by Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, a remake of every song — some traditional, some traditional-styled — on the 1958 Everlys album “Songs Our Daddy Taught Us.”
The Everly Brothers are “such a mainstay,” Mr. Armstrong said in November. “You either consciously grew up with them, or you subconsciously grew up with the Everly Brothers.”
SHUTESBURY, Mass. (AP) — Grammy-winning musician and composer Yusef Lateef, one of the first to incorporate world music into traditional jazz, has died. He was 93.
Lateef died Monday at his home in Shutesbury in western Massachusetts, according to the Douglass Funeral Home in Amherst.
Lateef, a tenor saxophonist known for his impressive technique, also became a top flutist. He was a jazz soloist on the oboe and played bassoon. He introduced different types of flutes and other woodwind instruments from many countries into his music and is credited with playing world music before it was officially named.
“I believe that all humans have knowledge,” he said in a 2009 interview for the National Endowment for the Arts. “Each culture has some knowledge. That’s why I studied with Saj Dev, an Indian flute player. That’s why I studied Stockhausen’s music. The pygmies’ music of the rain forest is very rich music. So the knowledge is out there. And I also believe one should seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. With that kind of inquisitiveness, one discovers things that were unknown before.”
As a composer, he created works for performers ranging from soloists to bands to choirs. His longer pieces have been played by symphony orchestras throughout the United States and in Germany. In 1987, he won a Grammy Award for his new age recording “Yusef Lateef’s Little Symphony,” on which he played all of the instruments.
In 2010, he was named an NEA Jazz Master, the nation’s highest jazz honor.
Lateef had an international following and toured extensively in the U.S., Europe, Japan and Africa. His last tour was during the summer.
He held a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s degree in music education from the Manhattan School of Music, and from 1987 to 2002, he was a professor at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, from which he was awarded a doctorate in education.
He created his own music theory called “Autophysiopsychic Music,” which he described in the NEA interview as “music from one’s physical, mental and spiritual self, and also from the heart.”
Born William Emanuel Huddleston in Chattanooga, Tenn., in 1920, Lateef moved with his family to Detroit five years later. He became acquainted with many top musicians who were part of Detroit’s active music scene and by age 18 he was touring professionally with swing bands led by Lucky Millinder, Roy Eldridge, Hot Lips Page and Ernie Fields.
In 1949, he was invited to perform with the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra, which was playing be-bop. He took the name Yusef Lateef after becoming a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, and twice made the pilgrimage to Mecca.
He became a fixture on the Detroit jazz scene in the 1950s leading his own quintet. In 1960, he moved to New York and joined Charles Mingus’ band. Lateef would go on to perform with some of jazz’s best talent, including Cannonball Adderley, Donald Byrd and Miles Davis.
Lateef first began recording under his own name in 1956 for Savoy Records, and made more than 100 recordings as a leader for such labels as Prestige, Impulse, Atlantic and his own YAL. His most enduring early recordings included such songs as “Love Theme from Spartacus” and “Morning.”
In the 1980s, he taught at a university in Nigeria, where he did research into the Fulani flute.
Lateef formed his own label, YAL Records, in 1992, which released an extended suite, “The World at Peace,” co-composed with percussionist Adam Rudolph. He also wrote a four-movement work for quintet and orchestra, “The African American Epic Suite,” which was commissioned and performed by the WDR Orchestra in Germany in 1993.
He is survived by his wife, Ayesha Lateef; son, Yusef Lateef; granddaughter and great-grandchildren.
Jim Hall, a jazz guitarist who for more than 50 years was admired by critics, aficionados and especially his fellow musicians for his impeccable technique and the warmth and subtlety of his playing, died on Tuesday at his home in Greenwich Village. He was 83.
The cause was heart failure, his wife, Jane, said.
The list of important musicians with whom Mr. Hall worked was enough to earn him a place in jazz history. It includes the pianist Bill Evans, with whom he recorded two acclaimed duet albums, and the singer Ella Fitzgerald, as well as the saxophonists Sonny Rollins and Paul Desmond, the drummer Chico Hamilton and the bassist Ron Carter, his frequent partner in a duo.
But with his distinctive touch, his inviting sound and his finely developed sense of melody, Mr. Hall made it clear early in his career that he was an important musician in his own right.
He was an influential one as well. Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell and John Scofield are among the numerous younger guitarists who acknowledge him as an inspiration. Mr. Hall, who never stopped being open to new ideas and new challenges, worked at various times with all three.
In his later years Mr. Hall composed many pieces for large ensembles, drawing on both his jazz roots and his classical training. Works like “Quartet Plus Four” for jazz quartet and string quartet, and “Peace Movement,” a concerto for guitar and orchestra, were performed internationally and widely praised.
If the critics tended to use the same words over and over to describe Mr. Hall’s playing — graceful, understated, fluent — that was as much a tribute to his consistency as to his talent. As Nate Chinen wrote recently in The New York Times, Mr. Hall’s style, “with the austere grace of a Shaker chair,” has sounded “effortlessly modern at almost every juncture” of his long career.
James Stanley Hall was born on Dec. 4, 1930, in Buffalo to Stanley and the former Louella Cowles, and spent most of his early years in Cleveland. He started guitar at age 10 and began playing professionally in his teens.
Like most of his guitar-playing peers, he was influenced by the first two great jazz guitar soloists: Charlie Christian, best known for his work with Benny Goodman, and the Belgian Gypsy Django Reinhardt. But he derived as much inspiration from saxophone players as he did from other guitarists.
“Tenor saxophonists really influenced the way I play,” he told The Times in 1990. When he was developing his style, he explained, “I’d try and get that lush sound of a tenor saxophone.”
While studying music theory at the Cleveland Institute of Music, he played guitar on weekends “but wasn’t all that involved in jazz,” he said in an interview found on his website. His plan was to become a composer and teach on the side. But shortly after he graduated in 1955 and began studying for a master’s degree at the institute, that plan changed. “I had to try being a guitarist or else it would trouble me for the rest of my life,” he said.
Moving to Los Angeles, where he studied classical guitar, he became a charter member of the Chico Hamilton Quintet, one of the first and most successful exemplars of the soft-spoken style known as cool jazz. (Mr. Hamilton died last month.) He then worked with the clarinetist, saxophonist and composer Jimmy Giuffre, whose adventurous approach to both composition and improvisation had a lasting impact on Mr. Hall’s own music.
Mr. Hall attracted further attention in the early 1960s when Sonny Rollins, a major star returning to music after a long hiatus, chose him to be in his new quartet. The contrast between Mr. Rollins’s aggressive saxophone playing and Mr. Hall’s quieter approach helped make the release of Mr. Rollins’s album “The Bridge” one of the most notable jazz events of 1962.
After a low-profile but lucrative television stint in the “Merv Griffin Show” band in the mid-1960s, Mr. Hall focused on leading his own groups, usually consisting simply of guitar, bass and drums, and recorded as a leader for CTI, A&M, Concord, Telarc and other labels. In the 1990s he taught at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York.
In addition to his wife of 48 years, the former Jane Yuckman, a psychoanalyst, Mr. Hall is survived by his daughter, Devra Hall Levy, who in recent years had been his manager.
Mr. Hall had back surgery in 2008 and other health problems, but he performed almost until the end, often in the company of other guitarists. This summer he performed with the 26-year-old guitarist Julian Lage at the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island. His last appearance was on Nov. 23 at a Jazz at Lincoln Center concert that also featured the guitarists John Abercrombie and Peter Bernstein.
For all the accolades he received over the years — including a Jazz Masters award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2004 — Mr. Hall never took his mastery of the guitar for granted. “The instrument keeps me humble,” he once told Guitar Player magazine. “Sometimes I pick it up and it seems to say, ‘No, you can’t play today.’ I keep at it anyway, though.”
Tabu Ley Rochereau, a Congolese singer, songwriter and bandleader whose music spread across Africa and the world, died on Nov. 30 in Brussels.
His son Marc Tabu confirmed the death on his Facebook page. Mr. Tabu, who was 73 or 76 — sources differ — had never fully recovered from a stroke in 2008.
Mr. Tabu’s voice, a high tenor, was always sweetly urbane, whether he was singing of love, his Christian beliefs or social issues. From the 1960s into the ’90s, he led one of the two top bands playing soukous, the Congolese rumba that became popular across Africa. He wrote and recorded thousands of songs, and as a bandleader and arranger he widely expanded the sound of soukous, infusing it with both local African rhythms and elements of international pop.
Soukous is an African reclamation and reinvention of Afro-Cuban music, particularly the son and the rumba, with gentler, smoother harmony singing and endlessly entwining guitar lines. Mr. Tabu’s band, Orchestre Afrisa International, was rivaled only by Le Tout Puissant OK Jazz, led by the guitarist Franco. (Franco, whose last name was Luambo, died in 1989.)
The contrast between their approaches has been compared to that of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, with Mr. Tabu more suave, Franco more aggressive. But the two rivals also collaborated at times on albums like “Omona Wapi.” The best introduction to Tabu Ley Rochereau’s career is found on two two-CD anthologies: “The Voice of Lightness, 1961-1977” and “The Voice of Lightness, Vol. 2,” both on the Sterns label.
Tabu Ley Rochereau was born Pascal Emmanuel Sinamoyi Tabou in what was then the Belgian Congo. He went by simply Rochereau, a school nickname, when he sent his first songs to Joseph Kabasele, the leader of the pioneering Congolese rumba band Orchestre African Jazz. He made his first recordings with another band, Rock-a-Mambo, in 1958, but had his first hit, “Kelya,” after he joined African Jazz in 1959, singing harmony with Mr. Kabasele’s lead. (Mr. Kabasele died in 1983.)
As the 1960s began, Rochereau wrote many hits for African Jazz when it was Congo’s top band. But in 1963, he took five members of African Jazz with him to start his own band, African Fiesta.
Congo, which had become an independent state in 1960, sent African Fiesta to Expo 67, the world’s fair in Montreal, where Rochereau soaked up North American rock and soul; he added a trap drum kit to his band. Three years later he took African Fiesta to Paris to perform, and in 1972 he made an album in London; the band soon became Afrisa International. After the regime of Mobutu Sese Seko changed Congo’s name to Zaire in 1971 and called for the nation to reclaim African “authenticité” from colonial influences, Rochereau renamed himself Tabu Ley Rochereau.
Afrisa International was a sensation across Africa in the 1970s. Mr. Tabu had his own label, Isa, and his own club, Type K, in Kinshasa, Zaire’s capital. In 1981, he discovered a 22-year-old singer, Mbilia Bel, who joined his band and turned his songs into Zaire’s top hits. They also had a child together, Melody.
As Zaire’s government grew more dictatorial and the country’s economy foundered, Mr. Tabu took the band abroad for long stretches. By the end of the 1980s Afrisa International was touring Europe, Africa and North and South America.
The band was based in Paris when riots shook Kinshasa in 1991, and Mr. Tabu told a journalist he would not return to Zaire until conditions improved. A government spokesman responded that he would be unwelcome.
While in Paris, Mr. Tabu recorded the album “Exil-Ley,” which contained his most directly political song, “Le Glas a Sonné” (“The Bell Has Tolled”). “We won independence to lift up our people/But our own leaders fought among themselves,” he sang. “Grabbing what they could, ignoring the people./Now the country is ruined.”
In 1994, Afrisa International moved to the United States, where it toured clubs and festivals and added English lyrics to its songs. But after Mr. Mobutu was ousted in 1997, Mr. Tabu returned to his native country, which had been renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo, and plunged into politics.
He was a founder of the Congolese Rally for Democracy party, and he became a cabinet minister, a member of parliament and vice governor of the city of Kinshasa while continuing a reduced recording career. He was in Kinshasa when his stroke debilitated him in 2008, and he was moved to Brussels for medical care.
Among his many surviving children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are, besides his son Marc, four sons who became musicians: Pegguy Tabu, Abel Tabu, Philemon and the French rapper Youssoupha Mabiki, who sampled his father’s music on a 2012 single, “Les Disques de Mon Père.”