Saturday, April 18, 2020

2020 in memoriam as of April 18

It seems to be pretty self-evident that 2020 is going to be a tough year for everyone. I wanted to take stock of the musicians that have passed away so far this year. It's rough. In no particular order, and those marked * are confirmed or believed to have died from covid-19-related symptoms.

Charles Wuorinen, John Prine*, Henry Grimes*, Hal Willner*, Ellis Marsalis*, Wallace Roney*, Adam Schlesinger*, Bill Withers, Krzysztof Penderecki, Kenny Rogers, David Olney, Neil Peart, Lee Konitz*, Eddy Davis*, Bucky Pizzarelli*, Joe Diffie*, Alan Merrill*, Manu Dibango*, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Keith Olsen, Dan Burrows, McCoy Tyner, Lyle Mays, Andy Gill, Jimmy Heath, Giuseppi Logan*.

That list isn't even complete, I'm sure someone reading this might include more people. I don't know who some of those people are, and I'm sure I am not particularly interested in some of their music. Nonetheless, I mourn the loss of any truly creative person.

This list will by nature grow in the coming months, and we have to prepare ourselves that more musicians will pass specifically due to the pandemic.

Sorry to be so gloomy. I wanted to acknowledge those people, but I also want to use it as an opportunity to encourage you to support those who are still with us. Quite a few of my friends rely on playing music live as their primary source of income. This is a particularly tough time for them.

If you have the resources to do so, buying a CD/digital download or band t-shirt has never meant more. This listing of a virtual Pittsburgh musician tip jar has been set up:

We're in a time when a lot of people are asking you for money, and some of you simply don't have it to begin with. Don't feel pressured.

I also don't want you to think that this is self-serving. I would never discourage anyone from buying any of my recordings, but otherwise, I don't want your money. I'm doing fine and still have a steady income from teaching. If you were inclined to "tip" me, think of someone else instead and give them something. $5 can mean a meal.

I've never been certain if I'm more of an optimist or pessimist by nature. Certainly some of both, and probably a frustrated optimist more than anything. For as frightening and depressing as the world can be right now, I remain hopeful that some good will come from all of this. Without minimizing how terrible things have been for some people, maybe it's a good thing that some of us have been forced to slow down and reflect in recent weeks.

To those who have passed, I salute you and celebrate your work. For those still with us, I support you and recognize your work.

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