Cliff Alexis
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Cliff Alexis

Steelband player, educator, arranger, tuner, and builder Clifford Alexis died on January 29, 2019. Born on January 15, 1937 in Trinidad, Alexis was attracted to the steelbands in his east Port of Spain neighborhood. By age eight Alexis was a regular in the panyards. As a teenager, Alexis joined the Hit Paraders steelband. From Hit…

Hal Blaine
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Hal Blaine

By Rick Mattingly Legendary studio drummer Hal Blaine died on March 11, 2019. Although the average music fan may not know his name, it’s safe to assume that anyone who has listened to popular music over the past 50 years has heard Hal Blaine play drums. Even though the bulk of his studio work was…

Dave Samuels
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Dave Samuels

By Lauren Vogel Weiss Grammy-winning vibraphonist and PAS Hall of Fame member Dave Samuels died on April 22, 2019. Diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2013, he stopped performing in public except for a few special events, including an appearance at the World Vibes Congress in 2015 and for an Alzheimer’s benefit concert in Connecticut in…

G. Allan O’Connor
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G. Allan O’Connor

G. Allan “Al” O’Connor died on June 9, 2019. He was a native of Long Island, New York, and he earned his Bachelor of Music Degree and Performers Certificate from SUNY–Fredonia and a Masters in Percussion Performance degree from the University of Illinois.  At Northern Illinois University (NIU), in 1973, Al O’Connor was the first…

Michael Colgrass
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Michael Colgrass

Composer and percussionist Michael Colgrass died on July 3, 2019. Born in 1932, he began his musical career in Chicago in 1944 as a jazz drummer. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1954 with a degree in performance and composition, and his studies included training with Darius Milhaud and Lukas Foss. He served…

Harvey Vogel
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Harvey Vogel

Harvey Vogel, founder of Lone Star Percussion in Dallas, Texas, passed away at the age of 83 on August 1, 2019 following years of living with lymphoma and leukemia. Although he sold the business in 2000, he continued to keep in touch with his percussion colleagues, attending the annual percussion conventions when they were held…

Emil Richards
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Emil Richards

Vibraphonist and longtime first-call Los Angeles studio musician Emil Richards—whose playing graced countless movie and TV soundtracks, albums, and jingles—died on December 13, 2019. Born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1932, Emilio Joseph Radocchia began studying xylophone at age six. He was soon attracted to the vibraphone after hearing Lionel Hampton. “My roots are from Hamp,”…