Dr. Willis F. Kirk, Jr.
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Dr. Willis F. Kirk, Jr.

Drummer, author, and composer Dr. Willis F. Kirk, Jr. died on February 16, 2016. Born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1928, he began drum lessons in fourth grade. After high school, he worked with many groups in Indianapolis, including Wes Montgomery, with whom he played for many years. In 1950, he was drafted into the army….

Naná Vasconcelos
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Naná Vasconcelos

Brazilian percussionist Naná Vasconcelos died of lung cancer on March 9, 2016 at age 71 in the northeastern Brazil city of Recife, where he was born. He was best known for his mastery of the single-string percussion instrument called the berimbau. “When I started to play berimbau differently…the idea came into my mind that instruments…

Al Moffatt
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Al Moffatt

Al Moffatt, marching manager of the Avedis Zildjian Company for the past 35 years, died on July 15, 2016 at the age of 69. “Members of Zildjian cymbal lines were used to seeing Moffatt appear at numerous drum corps rehearsals and at contests, often with new cymbals and gongs to replace damaged or worn out…

John Craviotto
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John Craviotto

John Craviotto, the founder of Craviotto Drum Company, died on July 15, 2016 at the age of 69. Born November 21, 1946 in San Francisco, he moved to Santa Cruz as a youngster and was a long-time resident of Santa Cruz. He started playing drums at a young age and throughout the 1960s and 1970s…

Peter Sadlo
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Peter Sadlo

German classical percussionist Peter Sadlo died on July 29, 2016. Born in 1962, he began studying at the Meistersinger-Konservatorium in Nürnberg at age 12 and then studied with Siegfried Fink at the Musikhochschule Würzburg. In 1982, when Peter was 20 years old, he became solo timpanist at the Munich Philharmonic, a position he held for…

Bobby Hutcherson
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Bobby Hutcherson

Jazz vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson died on August 15, 2016, at age 75. Vibist Stefon Harris has referred to Hutcherson as “by far the most harmonically advanced person to ever play the vibraphone.” Hutcherson was born in Los Angeles on Jan. 17, 1941. He took piano lessons as a child, but after hearing a recording of…

Robert Paiste
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Robert Paiste

On November 16, 2016, the Paiste cymbal company announced the death of Robert Paiste Robert was born in 1932 in the family’s country of origin, Estonia. The disruptions during the mid-20th century brought the family through Poland to Northern Germany, where in the late 1940s he joined his father, Michail, in cymbal and gong making….

Alphonse Mouzon
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Alphonse Mouzon

Drummer Alphonse Mouzon died on December 25, 2016. In the 1970s, along with Billy Cobham and Lenny White, Mouzon helped fashion a jazz-rock, or “fusion,” style of drumming by combining the volume, rhythms, and energy of rock playing with the polyrhythms, techniques, and finesse of jazz. Born in 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina, Mouzon started…