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Johnny Pacheco’s recent passing rocked the Latin music community. Without him, salsa would never have coalesced, been codified, and spread throughout the world.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

At the center of our #ChickForever celebration, WBGO is proud to present highlights from across a nearly 60-year recording career. Our announcers have selected their personal favorites from the Chick Corea discography — spanning his early work as a sideman, his emergence as a post-bop maverick, multiple phases of his fusion flagship Return to Forever, his later acoustic work and more.

Drummer, scientist, educator and improviser Milford Graves died in his Queens, N.Y. home around 3 p.m. on Fri., Feb. 12. He was 79. Lois, his wife of sixty-one years, confirmed to NPR that the cause was congestive heart failure, related to a 2018 diagnosis of amyloid cardiomyopathy. Mr.

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Sammy Nestico, an omnipresence in big band arranging and composing, best known for a close association with the Count Basie Orchestra, died of natural causes on Jan. 17 at his home in Carlsbad, Calif. He was 96.

The great South African trombonist and composer Jonas Gwangwa, who was an ambassador for his country's music around the globe and an advocate against apartheid at home, died today. Gwangwa's death was announced in a statement published on the web site of the presidency of the Republic of South Africa. He was 83 years old.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

Junior Mance, an unfailingly tasteful pianist whose affinity for the blues served him well over a 70-year career, died on Jan. 17 at home in New York City. He was 92.

Dave Kaufman

A master of the low end has left us.

Howard Johnson, who presided for more than 50 years as the preeminent tuba player in modern jazz, while making celebrated forays into rock, blues and soul — and racking up nearly as much mileage on baritone saxophone — died at his home in New York City on Jan. 11. He was 79.

Eugene Wright, whose nimble and rock-steady bass playing anchored the Dave Brubeck Quartet during its most popular and prolific decade, from the late 1950s through the late ‘60s, died on Wednesday in Los Angeles. He was 97.

Dave Kaufman / Used with permission

Frank Kimbrough, a pianist of unerring taste and touch, a composer drawn to flowing ethereality, and an improviser steeped in the art of epiphany, died on Wednesday at his home in Long Island City, N.Y. 

Jonathan Chimene

To state the obvious, this was a year like no other.


Chris Tobin, WBGO’s Chief Technology Officer, died on Saturday. He was 59.

The cause was a heart attack, which Chris suffered while overseeing the installation of a new HVAC system at the station, in Newark, N.J.

Dave Kaufman

Jeff Clayton, an alto saxophonist and flutist who cut a wide swath as a sideman, and who stood front and center in the Clayton Brothers Quintet and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, died on Thursday in Los Angeles.

Maxim Francois / Vision Fugitive

Stanley Cowell, a pianist, composer and educator who demonstrated a vast range of possibilities for jazz over the last 50 years, died on Thursday at Bayhealth Hospital in Dover, Del. He was 79.

The cause was Hypovolemic shock as a result of other health complications, said trumpeter Charles Tolliver, one of Cowell’s closest musical associates.


One unique aspect of jazz is that it never stops honoring the musicians who've shaped its sound. In 2020, more than 40 of those voices were silenced, and Jazz Night In America felt the need to acknowledge their loss with an original artistic gesture.


If you’ve been a jazz fan for any length of time, you know farewells are an essential part of the deal.

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Andrew White, a multi-instrumentalist, composer, musicologist and entrepreneur who proudly styled himself “the most voluminously productive self-industrialized musician in history,” died on Nov. 11 at an assisted living facility in Washington, D.C. He was 78.

Jack Vartoogian / Getty Images

Candido Camero, a virtuoso percussionist who had a major hand — or more precisely, two of them — in the development of Afro-Cuban music, died today at his home in New York City.  He was 99.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

Ira Sullivan, who distinguished himself as both a trumpeter and a saxophonist during a modern jazz career spanning more than 65 years, leaving a durable legacy on the Chicago scene as well as the field of jazz education, died on Sept. 21 at his home in Miami, Fla. He was 89.

Stanley Crouch, Towering Jazz Critic, Dead At 74

Sep 16, 2020

Stanley Crouch, the lauded and fiery jazz critic, has died. According to an announcement by his wife, Gloria Nixon-Crouch, Stanley Crouch died at the Calvary Hospital in New York on Wednesday, following nearly a decade of serious health issues.

Jimmy Katz

Gary Peacock, who died on Sept. 4 at 85, was a bassist who truly lived in the moment. That was the case every time he picked up his instrument, and no less true of an engaging interview with The Checkout in 2014, at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. 

Ronald "Khalis" Bell, a co-founder, songwriter, saxophonist, vocalist and producer of the chart-topping group Kool & The Gang, died Wednesday morning at his home in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He was 68.

Bell's death was confirmed by a Universal Music publicist, though no cause was provided.

Willie Torres, whose bell-like tone and nimble phrasing helped make him one of the most recorded singers in Latin music, died at South Lake Hospital in Claremont, Fla. on Aug. 13. He was 90. 

Gary Peacock, a versatile bassist who collaborated with some of the 20th century's most notable jazz musicians, has died. He was 85.

His family confirmed in a statement to NPR that Peacock died peacefully Friday, Sept. 4, at his home in upstate New York. No cause of death was provided.

Over a career that spanned seven decades, he played on recordings alongside Albert Ayler, Paul Bley, Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, among many others.

Bill May /

Charli Persip, whose career as a leading jazz drummer included close associations with Dizzy Gillespie, Randy Weston and many others — along with nearly 40 years at the helm of his own big band, SuperSound — died at Mt. Sinai Morningside in New York City on Sunday.

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Johnny Mandel, a composer and orchestrator who brought emotional depth and a sophisticated sheen to the realms of popular song, television and film, died on Monday at his home in Ojai, Calif. He was 94.

Clay Walker

Freddy Cole, whose debonair yet unassuming vocal style lighted his way through a distinguished jazz career, in and out of the shadow of his older brother Nat “King” Cole, died on Saturday at his home in Atlanta, Ga.

Jorge Santana, who died on May 14, left behind an impressive but often undervalued body of work.

He was a formidable guitarist, and while he never received the same attention as his older brother, Carlos, he deserves much wider recognition. This selection of tracks is a good place to start.

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Lucky Peterson, a keyboardist, guitarist and singer whose blues career kicked off with a novelty hit at age 5, eventually sprawling over dozens of albums and thousands of high-octane gigs, died in Dallas, Tx. on May 17. He was 55.

His death was announced on his Facebook page. Blues guitarist Shawn Kellerman, his longtime friend and band mate, said the cause was a stroke.

Jorge Santana, a guitarist known for his central role in the Latin rock band Malo, as well as his collaborations with the Fania All Stars, died on May 14. He was 68.

His older brother, Carlos Santana, announced his death on Facebook. The family said Jorge died of natural causes.

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Holli Ross was one of my favorite singers and dearest friends. She passed early Saturday morning after several years fighting cancer.