Pee Wee Ellis , who has died aged 80, was a saxophonist and composer who worked across various musical genres ranging from jazz and R&B to rock and soul; he arranged many of James Brown’s most vibrant numbers including Cold Sweat, which is said to be the first funk track, did a long tour of duty with Van Morrison and in later years teamed up with the Cream drummer Ginger Baker.
Trombonist, broadcaster, writer and jazz historian, Mike Pointon last Tuesday at the age of 80. He was a mainstay of many jazz festivals since 1995 and toured Northern Ireland with Wild Bill Davison and Art Hodes..He recently featured on the Now you has Jazz on Sound of Spitfire where, together with John Petters he interviewed the late Colin Bowden, whom we lost on 1st August. Mike was too ill to get to his funeral. The two had been friends for decades.
George Wein, founder of the Newport Jazz and folk festivals has died at the age of 95.
He began his career as a jazz pianist, then opened a jazz club in Boston in 1950. With backing from some rich jazz fans, he launched the 'First Annual American Jazz Festival' in 1954, later known as the Newport Jazz Festival, featuring many famouus jazz names including Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan and Lester Young, in the first year alone.
He went on to promote, help out, or take over many jazz and folk festivals, and all festivals including Woodstock and UK festivals such as Knebworth benefited, directly or indirectly, from his pioneering work in the field.