Sad to hear of the death of saxophonist Arthur Blythe who had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease and passed away yesterday aged 76.
His career began with Horace Tapscott and later Chico Hamilton, the LA-born player later playing with Gil Evans in the 1970s. Blythe recorded for Columbia (as an example above) later that decade and in the 1980s was a big presence in Jack DeJohnette’s Special Edition.
I heard him just the one time playing wild at heart with James Blood Ulmer in the unlikely surroundings of Cabot Hall in Canary Wharf. It is hard to think of a less corporate musician, yet the big labels came knocking on his door at least for a while wanting his freshness and candour, that keening, emotional sound of his coming from the heart of the tradition but never content to stay still. His mellower side even though that too had an edge to it thankfully was popular in Europe in groups like The Leaders and Roots who toured widely.
Swiss Radio have done a tribute online here as has Ethan Iverson
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