A long time Sun Ra Arkestra bassist Juini Booth has died. He was 73. No cause of death is known. Tributes online include this from guitarist Kurt Ronsenwinkel: ''We hung out a lot in NY and Berlin. He was such [a] cool dude and a great musician, his spirit was so positive and full of love and grace. I always felt grateful to know him and will carry his smile within my heart.''
Spike Wilner of Smalls writes evocatively on Facebook that ''The news about bassist Juini Booth passing… kind of took the wind out of my sails. I've known Juini since I was a young man and he was always very kind to me. I remember the first time I'd ever even heard of Juini Booth was when I was 18 years old and knew the McCoy Tyner Live at Montreux with Juini Booth on bass. He gets a long and rhapsodic bass solo interlude between McCoy's expansive compositions. Playing with a beautiful tone and soulful melody - it's one of those solos that has stayed inside me all my musical life. The first time I met him on the streets of the East Village, at some session in some dive bar, I couldn't believe I was meeting him. I sang his solo for him note for note. He looked pleased and smiled. From that time we were always friends and he always called me "Michael" rather than my more familiar nickname, Spike. As I developed over the years we were friendly and did play together on occasion. When I took over Smalls I began to book his groups through the years. He always had a friendly and affectionate "hello, Michael", whenever I saw him. More recently I saw him during the blur that was COVID. He came by the club when New York was deserted and offered words of encouragement. His peaceful and gentle demeanor and slender frame - with beboppers heart and the soul of the warrior musician. I will miss this person and another window in the rapidly fading old New York.''
Booth's early career work included with Chuck Mangione in the mid-1960s and later Art Blakey, Freddie Hubbard, Gary Bartz, Tony Williams' Lifetime, McCoy Tyner and touring in Japan with Masabumi Kikuchi.