Monday, June 30, 2008

Ronnie Mathews 1935-2008

Ronnie Mathews, an accomplished pianist and sideman to Max Roach, Roy Haynes, Art Blakey, and Johnny Griffin died Saturday morning, June 28th, in Brooklyn NY, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 72. Though he never seemed to capture the level of recognition his talents deserved, he was in constant demand among his peers, touring with Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie's United Nations Band, Clifford Jordan's Big Band and for eight years with drummer T.S. Monk Jr. His recording career as a leader stretches back to 1963's "Doin The Thang" (Prestige) with trumpeter Hubbard and Charles Davis on baritone sax. Mathews would go on to make numerous records throughout the '80s and '90s on small labels like Sackville, Timeless and DIW. Last Monday, numerous musicians including Randy Weston, Louis Hayes, Cedar Walton, George Coleman and Jimmy Heath had gathered for a tribute and benefit performance for Mathews at New York's Sweet Rhythm. Donations in his memory may be sent to the Jazz Foundation of America (
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