Wayne Kramer, who has died aged 75, was the guitarist and co-founder of MC5, the Detroit band who fused ear-shredding garage rock and revolutionary politics, inspiring the likes of the Clash and a whole legion of bands who enlisted in the 1970s punk movement; with lines like “I’m sick and tired of paying these dues/ And I’m sick to my guts of the American ruse” they attacked the establishment against a backdrop of crunching riffs.

 The original band line-up comprised vocalist Rob Tyner, guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred "Sonic" Smith, bassist Michael Davis, and drummer Dennis Thompson. Early success in and around Detroit led to the band name, MC5 being short for "Motor City Five".





2023 saw the passing of many musicians / singers including:

Tina Turner, Jeff Beck, Burt Bacharach, Denny Laine, Shane MacGowan, Sinead O’Connor, Tony Bennett and Jane Birkin.

Torben Ulrich RIP

Torben Ulrich, who has died aged 95, could certainly be said to have had a varied career. The father of Lars Ulrich, drummer with Metallica, gods of heavy metal, he was a writer, jazz clarinettist, artist and avant-garde filmmaker – and a tennis player who appeared in 102 Davis Cup matches for Denmark.
In the 1950s he had played clarinet with a trad-jazz band, but later in life his work became increasingly experimental. In the 2000s he began working with the Copenhagen free-jazz trio Clinch, and in 2005 he founded another improvisational group, Instead Of.
Between 2009 and 2014 he released three albums, beginning with Suddenly, Sound: 21 Songlines for Piano, Drainpipe, Etc, with the pianist Søren Kjærgaard. In 2021, aged 92, he released the jazz record Oakland Moments; Cello, Voice, Reuniting, Rejoicing, a collaboration with the cellist Lori Goldstein.


Marlena Shaw RIP

Marlena Shaw, who has died in January 2024 aged 81, was a jazz and soul singer whose version of the song California Soul has been sampled dozens of times by artists including Drake, Deee-Lite and Shaun Ryder’s band Black Grape, as well as being used in television ads; she thoroughly approved of her work being recycled, she said: “It kinda makes me feel like the sun, and I shine on all kinds of things."
She began studying music at the New York State Teachers College, but dropped out and began playing jazz clubs, while also bringing up five children. An audition with Columbia Records in 1963 was scuppered by nerves, and it was not until 1966 that her career began to fly, thanks to a gig at a Playboy Club in Chicago that led to a contract with Chess Records.

She made two albums for the label, including The Spice of Life, and toured Europe with Count Basie, then in 1972 she became Blue Note’s first female vocalist, for whom she made a series of smooth jazz albums, including one recorded live at Montreux. The title of her 1974 album for the label, Who Is this Bitch Anyway?, was reportedly a reference to the rise of the singer who became known as “the mother of hip-hop”, Millie Jackson.
In 1977 she joined Columbia and surfed the disco wave; she recalled a night in 1980 in New York when she played a set at the Savoy Ballroom with her jazz trio and a set with the Count Basie Band. “Then I changed clothes, was picked up in a limo, and was driven to a disco place and sang my latest records there. And I made three times as much at the disco than I’d made at the Savoy.” She released 17 albums across eight labels and kept up a hectic touring schedule into her seventies, often playing 200 dates a year, spending her downtime at her home in Las Vega