Categotry Archives: Musicians


Erick Friedman


Categories: Education, Musicians

efriedman.jpgErick Friedman, a violin virtuoso and Yale music professor, died on March 30 of cancer. He was 64.
A child prodigy, Friedman studied at the Juilliard School of Music and made his New York debut when he was only 14. Three years later, he trained under Jascha Heifetz and played at Carnegie Hall.
In 1960, Friedman signed a contract with RCA that allowed him to play with the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony and London Symphony. He became a regular guest musician and conductor at music festivals all over the world, and led the Garrett Lakes Summer Festival Orchestra in Maryland for more than a decade.
When an automobile accident injured his left arm and hand in the late 1980s, Friedman became a professor of violin and chamber music at Yale University. He continued teaching there until his death.
Friedman was the recipient of the 2000 Ignace J. Paderewski Award for Distinguished Contributions to Society and Culture. He also won a Grammy Award in 1996 for best historical album for his participation in “The Heifetz Collection.”


Adan Sanchez


Categories: Musicians

asanchez.jpgSinger Adan Sanchez, the son of balladeer Rosalino “Chalino” Sanchez, died on March 27 in an automobile accident in Sinaloa, Mexico. He was 19.

Sanchez was on a promotional trip through northwestern Mexico when the 1989 Ford Crown Victoria he was riding in blew a tire. The driver lost control and the vehicle rolled. Sanchez, who was not wearing a seatbelt, sustained serious head injuries and died on the scene. The other passengers were hospitalized for their injuries.

Chalino Sanchez was a Los Angeles-based music legend who transformed traditional Mexican ballads into tough tales about criminals and drug traffickers. He was kidnapped and murdered in 1992.

Adan, who adopted Chalino as his middle name, recorded nine albums of ballads and tributes to his father. His songs were mostly played on Spanish language radio stations, but his matinee idol looks appealed to thousands of teenaged fans. Sanchez’s final CD, “Homenaje a Mi Padre,” was released last year.


Jan Berry


Categories: Musicians

William Jan Berry, one-half of the 1960s duo Jan & Dean, died on March 26. Cause of death was not released. He was 62.
Berry was attending University High School in West Los Angeles when he and his friends formed a doo-wop group called The Barons. Berry transformed his family’s garage into a practice area, complete with reel-to-reel tape machines and a piano, and hooked up with his friend Baron Arnie Ginsburg to record the song, “Jennie Lee.”
They went to a local recording studio to convert their tape into a record, and the catchy tune was overheard by producer Joe Lubin, vice president of Arwin Records. In June 1958, “Jennie Lee” by Jan & Arnie became a Top 10 hit. They appeared on the “Dick Clark Show” and played in front of nearly 12,000 fans at the first rock-n-roll show ever held at the Hollywood Bowl, but their follow-up singles didn’t sell as well. The duo broke up at the end of the year, and Arnie went to college to study architecture. The Barons also disbanded at graduation.
Berry and classmate Dean Torrence still wanted to make music, so they joined forces in college to form Jan & Dean. Inside Berry’s garage, they recorded the song, “Baby Talk,” which hit the Top 10 in 1959 and led to an appearance on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand.” Jan & Dean became pioneers of the West Coast sound during the 1960s, chronicling the surf world of Southern California with a string of hits such as “Linda,” “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena” and “Surf City.”
“Deadman’s Curve,” which was co-written with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, became a prophetic anthem for teens who risked their lives by driving too fast. In 1966, Berry’s own career was cut short when his speeding Corvette hit a parked landscaping truck. He suffered severe brain damage that left him partially paralyzed and unable to talk, and was forced to undergo years of recovery in order to resume singing and songwriting. In the mid-1980s, Southern California Rehabilitation Services launched the Jan Berry Center for the Brain Injured.


Les Gray


Categories: Musicians

lgray.jpgThomas Lesley Gray, the lead singer of 1970s glam rock group Mud, died on Feb. 21 from a heart attack. He was 57.

Gray played the trumpet in his school band and joined a traditional jazz band when he was 12 years old. He later wrote commercials for an advertising agency and played in a skiffle group called The Mourners with his younger brother, Pete.

In 1966, Gray, drummer Dave Mount, bassist Ray Stiles and guitarist Rob Davis formed Mud. The band won a talent contest and appeared on “The Basil Brush Show,” then toured Great Britain as the opening act for Jack Jones. Mud produced more than a dozen hit singles, including the chart-toppers “Lonely This Christmas,” “Tiger Feet” and “Oh Boy.” “Tiger Feet” was the biggest-selling single of 1974.

The band split up three years later, and Gray launched a solo career. He released five singles between 1977 and 1982, and toured as Les Gray’s Mud. In 1981, he also recorded “Rock on Elvis” under the name Tulsa McLean.

After smoking 50 cigarettes a day, Gray spent his final years battling throat cancer. Although doctors wanted to remove his voicebox, he opted for chemotherapy instead.

Watch Classic Mud Video Clips


Vilayat Khan


Categories: Musicians

Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan, one of India’s leading sitar players, was born into a musical family. He could trace his lineage back six or seven generations to Miyan Tansen, the court musician of Emperor Akbar of the late 16th century.
Khan gave his first public performances at six, and began recording his own music two years later. A determined child prodigy, he sometimes practiced until his fingers bled.
Khan was credited with creating his own style of playing the sitar, and performed in venues all over the world. He twice received the Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan, but rejected these honors because he said the awards committee was too incompetent to judge his artistic abilities.
Khan had a second home in New Jersey. He frequently lectured at Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, Calif., and was scheduled to give a performance this spring at Zankel Hall in New York City. He also composed music for the films, “Jalsaghar” and “Guru.”
Khan died on March 13. Cause of death was not released. He was 76.

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