LOST ONES: in Memory of all the great musicians who left us in 2012

Some of our favorite musicians passed away in 2012 and we wanted to select some songs to remember them by as the year comes to an end. We love all these songs and hope you enjoy our small tribute. We lost some true gems this year – may they rest in peace.

MCA (1964 – 2012)

I’ve always seen MCA as the grounded one, the protective and visionnary older brother of the Beastie trio. Gifted rapper, musician, entrepreneur, director and militant, Adam Yauch helped shape the american youth culture as we see it today. A giant that will be missed. (YM)

Dave Brubeck (1920 – 2012)

Alas, one of the last jazz great left this Earth on December 5th, 2012. From pushing unusual time signatures to mainstream jazz, to penning up the first jazz album to ever be certified platinum, it is safe to say that good ol’ Dave has seen it all. May he rest in peace. (YM)

Etta James (1938 – 2012)

She was the loudest wallflower, the voice of a generation destined to reverberate across the ages. Etta James is in the same pantheon as Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald among the absolute greatest of all time. (MR)

Marva Whitney (1944 – 2012)

Marva Whitney was simply the baddest female funk vocalist of all time. The energy and raw vocals she brought were unsurpassed and a huge inspiration for many of today’s leading ladies. No wonder she went on from James Brown vocalist to doing her own damn thing. Her work with Fred Wesley’s JBs is undeniable (check this rare live performance) and her groovy chops helped make hits even when she was sampled (Let Me Clear My Throat). She never stopped working and was at her best on stage and since whatever track she was on was pure fire, funk heads will never stop filling dance floors with her endless classics… Here is a lesser known one. We will miss you, Marva. (DA)

Fontella Bass (1940 – 2012)

Fontella Bass will be remembered for her R&B classics released on Chess records (although they never paid her what she was due) but mystical tone she brought to more leftfield collaborations such as the soundtrack done with jazz groups Art Ensemble of Chicago and a late career collabo with Cinematic Orchestra. These groups searched out the pure golden tone which was Fontella’s gift to the world and the legacy of her gospel signing roots. So now that she is finally free of her time on earth, here is a song of pure Bass bliss so we can treasure that almost holy voice. (DA)

Austin Perlata (1990 – 2012)

The young pianist leaves us with only three albums despite his very young age. The most recent one, titled Endless Planets, was released in 2011. Austin, the son of the famous skater Stacy Peralta, was a member of the Brainfeeder crew and collaborated on several projects with Teebs, Strangeloop and Thundercat. He also appears in the credits of four songs on the last album of Flying Lotus such as the incredible DMT song. (AV)

Here is his last interview, filmed in Poland.

Capital STEEZ (1993 – 2012)

Deep and mystical rhymes, angry and rebellious swag, Capital STEEZ took his own life on December 23rd 2012. He was a member of NY’s fledgling Pro Era crew alongside up-and-comer Joey Bada$$. (YM)

Martin Dawson (1978 – 2012)

The Berlin-based House DJ was found unconscious in his studio back in November, having apparently suffered a brain aneurysm and died several days later, after doctors attempted to revive him. Tragic. (MR)

Donna Summer (1948 – 2012)

The first artist to chart consecutive double-LPs at number one on Billboard, Donna Summer is not to be forgotten. (MR)

Chavela Vargas (1919 – 2012)

A cigar-smoking, tequila-guzzling ranchera singer who always carried a gun and was rumored to have had an affair with Frida Kahlo, Chavela Vargas passed on August 5th of this year. Truly legendary. (MR)

Yomo Toro (1933 – 2012)

I briefly mentioned Yomo in the Guaracha post and am sad to have to bring him up in this context. I hope he inspires a generation of string players to pick up the Cuatro and carry on tradition. (MR)

Whitney Houston (1963 – 2012)

Beyond her enormous talent, Whitney Houston will forever be remembered as a cautionary tale about the price of fame as well as its destructive power on the aspiring individual and society at large. Observing how the media fuels our obsession with tragedy made me conclude that celebrity funerals are the most disgusting form of pageantry. (MR)

Terry Callier (1945 – 2012)

One of the most sincere musician gifted with a unique sensitive voice, it wasn’t an easy road for Terry Callier. After releasing a string of amazing albums who went to be pretty much unnoticed in the late 60’s through the late 70’s, Mr. Callier retired in 1983. Then in mid 90’s in the midst of the Rare Groove and Acid-Jazz movements, his recordings were brought back to life by lots of influential DJ’s which lead to new recordings in the late 90’s until his recent passing. He had truly a unique folky soulful sound to his music. Listening to his music is like taking a deep introspection into ourself and beyond. A true cat indeed…

Devon Eve

Devon Eve

Montrealer, born and raised, Devon Eve is a disco boogie junkie with much love for the golden era of dance music.