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In Memoriam 2020: The Musicians We Lost

Collecting the names of musicians who die in any single span of time, as NPR does at the end of each year, can be an occasion for tribute or reflection or an exercise in collapsing days, a gateway to a specific moment of pain or gratitude. The truth at the end of 2020 is that the tremendous and overwhelming volume of loss nearly renders the need for that kind of reminder irrelevant. Throughout this relentless year it has been constantly renewed.

We lost icons in every genre: founders and innovators and steadfast traditionalists. The world of jazz, so reliant upon elders to anchor its constantly developing notion of history and legacy, bore an especially heavy burden. (Our colleagues atJazz Night In Americahave spent much time alreadyrememberingandpaying tribute tothose lost this year.) What follows is a memorial to musicians we lost in 2020. They are listed below in chronological order by the date they left us.

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Jaap Schröder

Dutch violinist, conductor, pedagogue and specialist in the historically informed performance movement

Dec. 31, 1925 — Jan. 1, 2020

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LAS VEGAS - MAY 10: Rush drummer Neil Peart performs at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on May 10, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller / Getty Images

NEIL PEART

Rush drummer, Canadian rock deity

Sept. 12, 1952 — Jan. 7, 2020

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Steve Martin Caro

The sweet-voiced singer for baroque-pop band The Left Banke

Oct. 12, 1948 — Jan. 14, 2020

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Barry Tuckwell

Australia-born principle French horn of the London Symphony Orchestra

March 5, 1931 — Jan. 16, 2020

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Claudio Roditi

Brazilian jazz trumpeter and composer

May 28, 1946 — Jan. 17, 2020

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David Olney

Beloved Nashville singer-songwriter

March 23, 1948 — Jan. 18, 2020

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Jimmy Heath

Saxophonist and big band leader nicknamed "Little Bird"

Oct. 25, 1926 — Jan. 19, 2020

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Nedda Casei

American mezzo-soprano and Met Opera regular turned labor leader

Sept. 9, 1932 — Jan. 20, 2020

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Sean Reinert

Metal drummer who explored unknown worlds with Cynic and Death

May 27, 1971 — Jan. 24, 2020

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Bob Gulotti

Endlessly creative jazz drummer and educator, charter member of The Fringe

Nov. 28, 1949 — Jan. 25, 2020

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Bob Shane

Founding member of the Kingston Trio

Feb. 1, 1934 — Jan. 26, 2020

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Reed Mullin

Founder and drummer for metal/punk band Corrosion of Conformity

Feb. 12, 1966 — Jan. 27, 2020

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Lucien Barbarin performs during the 'Great Performances: Harry Connick Jr. in Concert on Broadway' at the Langham Hotel on January 8, 2011 in Pasadena, California.
Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Lucien Barbarin

Suave and playful trombonist, scion and upholder of New Orleans jazz traditions

July 17, 1956 — Jan. 30, 2020

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Peter Serkin

Classical pianist studied in traditional repertoire but drawn to new sounds

July 24, 1947 — Feb. 1, 2020

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Andy Gill

Gang of Four guitarist, whose style helped define post-punk

Jan. 1, 1956 — Feb. 1, 2020

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Lynn Evans Mand

Voice behind hit songs "Mr. Sandman" and "Lollipop"

May 2, 1924 — Feb. 6, 2020

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Nello Santi

The most authoritative interpreter of Italian Opera

Sept. 22, 1931 — Feb. 6, 2020

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Mirella Freni

Italian soprano, known for embodying Mimì in Puccini's La Bohème

Feb. 27, 1935 — Feb. 9, 2020

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Lyle Mays

Jazz keyboardist, longtime anchor of Pat Metheny Group

Nov. 27, 1953 — Feb. 10, 2020

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Paul Simon (center), Joseph Shabalala (left) and other members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo perform during the Library Of Congress Gershwin Prize For Popular Song Gala at the Warner Theater May 23, 2007 in Washington, DC.
Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images

Joseph Shabalala

Founder of Africa's vocal ambassadors Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Aug. 28, 1940 — Feb. 11, 2020

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Reinbert de Leeuw

Dutch conductor and pianist who fought to bring contemporary classical music into the spotlight

Sept. 8, 1938 — Feb. 14, 2020

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Ja'Net Dubois

Emmy Award-winning actress, singer and composer who co-wrote and sang "The Jeffersons" theme

Aug. 5, 1932 — Feb. 17, 2020

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Andrew Weatherall

Genre-defying musician who was an instrumental DJ in England's acid house scene

April 6, 1963 — Feb 17, 2020

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Jon Christensen

Norwegian jazz drummer, member of Keith Jarrett's Belonging Quartet

March 20, 1943 — Feb. 18, 2020

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American rapper Pop Smoke performs during the Astroworld Festival at NRG Stadium on November 9, 2019 in Houston, Texas.
Suzanne Cordeiro / AFP via Getty Images

Pop Smoke

The stop-in-your-tracks voice of Brooklyn drill and a new and commanding hip-hop star

July 20, 1999 — Feb. 19, 2020

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Elyse Weinberg

A late '60s singer-songwriter and guitarist once lost to time and later rediscovered by crate-diggers

Oct. 25, 1945 — Feb. 20, 2020

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David Roback

Founder of Rain Parade, Opal and Mazzy Star, psychedelic adventurer

April 4, 1958 — Feb. 24, 2020

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Pianist McCoy Tyner performs with the McCoy Tyner Trio 19 July 2007 in the northern Spanish Basque town of Vitoria.
Rafa Rivas / AFP via Getty Images

McCoy Tyner

Pianist who revolutionized jazz harmony, in and out of the John Coltrane Quartet

Dec. 11, 1938 — March 6, 2020

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Charles Wuorinen

Pulitzer Prize-winning avant-garde composer

June 9, 1938 — March 11, 2020

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Danny Ray Thompson

Manager, saxophonist and key creative force of the Sun Ra Arkestra

Oct. 1, 1947 — March 12, 2020

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Doriot Anthony Dwyer

One of the first women to be awarded principal chair for a major American orchestra

March 6, 1922 — March 14, 2020

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Genesis Breyer P-Orridge of Psychic TV performs at the Astoria on October 7, 2006 in London, England.
Jim Dyson / Getty Images

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge

Lead vocalist of seminal industrial band Throbbing Gristle

Feb. 22, 1950 — March 14, 2020

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Suzy Delair

French star of music halls and midcentury films

Dec. 31, 1917 — March 15, 2020

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DJ Black N Mild

News Orleans bounce DJ and radio personality

1976 — March 19, 2020

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Aurlus Mabele

The Congolese king of soukous music

Oct. 26, 1953 — March 19, 2020

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American singer and songwriter Kenny Rogers in concert, circa 1977.
Keystone / Getty Images

Kenny Rogers

Country-pop superstar

Aug. 21, 1938 — March 20, 2020

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Ray Mantilla

Percussionist and leader of bands that played "Latin Jazz with authentic Latino rhythms"

June 22, 1934 — March 21, 2020

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Mike Longo

Jazz pianist, composer, advocate and longtime associate of Dizzy Gillespie

March 19, 1937 — March 22, 2020

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Eric Weissberg

Banjo virtuoso known for the surprise hit song "Dueling Banjos"

Aug. 16, 1937 — March 22, 2020

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Nashom Wooden

Fixture of New York's gay club scene, the drag queen known as Mona Foot

1969 — Mach 23, 2020

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Manu Dibango

Cameroonian saxophonist who brought African pop to the West

Dec. 12, 1933 — March 24, 2020

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Jan Howard

Country singer and songwriter, author and Grand Ole Opry mainstay

March 13, 1929 — March 28, 2020

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Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki pictured conducting an orchestra, 1980.
Keystone / Getty Images

Krzysztof Penderecki

Prolific Polish composer best known for his work Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima

Nov. 23, 1933 — March 29, 2020

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Joe Diffie

1990s country icon

Dec. 28, 1958 — March 29, 2020

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Bill Withers (left) and John Legend perform onstage during the 30th Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Public Hall on April 18, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Mike Coppola / Getty Images

Bill Withers

Prolific, genre-defying singer-songwriter and bluesman

July 4, 1938 — March 30, 2020

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Alby Kass

Yiddish folk singer and community leader

1930 — March 31, 2020

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Wallace Roney

Trumpeter, bandleader at the forward edge of hard bop

May 25, 1960 — March 31, 2020

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Cristina

Self-aware pioneer of '80s new wave aesthetics, excess and irony

Jan. 17, 1956 — March 31, 2020

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Ellis Marsalis performs at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at the Fair Grounds Race Course on May 3, 2009.
Rick Diamond / Getty Images

Ellis Marsalis

New Orleans jazz pianist, educator and patriarch of the Marsalis Jazz Family

Nov. 14, 1934 — April 1, 2020

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Bucky Pizzarelli

Prolific session guitarist, jazz legend

Jan. 9, 1926 — April 1, 2020

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Adam Schlesinger

Founding member of the bands Fountains of Wayne, Ivy and Tinted Windows and champion of power pop

Oct. 31, 1967 — April 1, 2020

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Onaje Allan Gumbs

Pianist whose playing spanned hard-bop and smooth jazz

Sept. 9, 1949 — April 6, 2020

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Eddy Davis

Banjo virtuoso and trad-jazz bandleader

Sept. 26, 1940 — April 7, 2020

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John Prine

Grammy-winning country singer-songwriter, recording artist, live performer and occasional actor who transformed Chicago's folk scene

Oct. 10, 1946 — April 7, 2020

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Hal Willner

Live event and record producer, curator of tributes and musical matchmaker

April 6, 1956 — April 7, 2020

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Chynna

Rising Philadelphia rapper

Aug. 19, 1994 — April 8, 2020

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Andy González

Double bassist who bridged the gap between Latin music and jazz

Jan. 1, 1951 — April 9, 2020

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Richard Teitelbaum

Experimental American composer and electronic musician

May 19, 1939 — April 9, 2020

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Jymie Merritt

American jazz double-bassist, electric-bass pioneer, band leader and composer

May 3, 1926 — April 10, 2020

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Professor Joe Torres

Pianist who played on many of salsa's greatest hits

Nov. 29, 1943 — April 13, 2020

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Henry Grimes

Jazz bassist whose early promise was curtailed by a decades-long absence, before returning as an avant-garde hero

Nov. 3, 1935 — April 15, 2020

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Lee Konitz

Alto saxophonist, incorrigible jazz original and the last surviving player on Miles Davis's Birth of the Cool

Oct. 13, 1927 — April 15, 2020

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Kenneth Gilbert

Canadian harpsichordist, organist and musicologist

Dec. 16, 1931 — April 16, 2020

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Giuseppi Logan

Iconclastic free-jazz multi-instrumentalist

May 22, 1935 — April 17, 2020

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Matthew Seligman

New wave bassist for The Soft Boys and David Bowie

July 14, 1955 — April 17, 2020

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Michael Cogswell

Jazz archivist and historian

Sept. 30, 1953 — April 20, 2020

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Ronan O'Rahilly

Creator of offshore pirate rock station Radio Caroline

May 21, 1940 — April 20, 2020

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Florian Schneider

Kraftwerk cofounder and electronic music titan

April 7, 1947 — April 21, 2020

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Bootsie Barnes

Saxophonist, pillar of Philadelphia jazz

Nov. 27, 1937 — April 22, 2020

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Fred the Godson

Wordsmith from the Bronx and fixture of hip-hop radio

Jan. 1, 1985 — April 23, 2020

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Harold Reid

Co-founder of country music stalwarts the Statler Brothers

Aug. 21, 1939 — April 24, 2020

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Lynn Harrell

Cellist known as one of the most prominent American classical musicians of his generation

Jan. 30, 1944 — April 27, 2020

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Nigerian drummer Tony Allen performs live with Dj and producer Jeff Mills.
Giorgio Perottino / Getty Images for OGR

Tony Allen

Master drummer and co-creator of Afrobeat

July 20, 1940 — April 30, 2020

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Richie Cole

Saxophonist who tirelessly tended a bebop flame

Feb. 29, 1948 — May 2, 2020

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Rosalind Elias

Mezzo-soprano who was a Met Opera mainstay and late-in-life Broadway star

Mach 13, 1930 — May 3, 2020

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Millie Small in 1964
Terry Fincher / Getty Images

Millie Small

Jamaican singer behind hit U.K. single "My Boy Lollipop"

Oct. 6, 1947 — May 5, 2020

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Andre Harrell

Founder of Uptown Records, music executive who bridged the gap between hip-hop and R&B

Sept. 26, 1960 — May 7, 2020

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Rock and roll legend Little Richard in costume at an empty Wembley Stadium in 1972.
Tim Graham / Getty Images

Little Richard

Rock and roll architect and auteur of outrageousness

Dec. 5, 1932 — May 9, 2020

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Betty Wright performing at the Apollo Theatre in New York City on November 8, 2001.
Gabe Palacio / Getty Images

Betty Wright

Funk-soul-disco singer, songwriter and producer

Dec. 21, 1953 — May 10, 2020

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Astrid Kirchherr

Photographer and artist who helped shape The Beatles' style

May 20, 1938 — May 12, 2020

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Phil May

Lead singer for the English rock band the Pretty Things

Nov. 9, 1944 — May 12, 2020

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Jorge Santana

Guitarist known for playing with Latin rock favorite Malo, the Fania All-Stars and his brother Carlos

June 13, 1951 — May 14, 2020

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Lucky Peterson

Bluesman who began as a child prodigy on organ, later adding electric guitar to his arsenal

Dec. 13, 1964 — May 17, 2020

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Mory Kanté

Guinean griot whose "Yeke Yeke" was the first African single to sell over 1 million copies

March 29, 1950 — May 22, 2020

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Jimmy Cobb performs in the 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Chris Graythen / Getty Images

Jimmy Cobb

Paragon of modern jazz drumming, and the last surviving musician to play on Miles Davis' 'Kind of Blue'

Jan. 20, 1929 — May 24, 2020

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Bucky Baxter

Steel guitarist known for his work with Steve Earle and as a member of Bob Dylan's Never Ending Tour

1955 — May 25, 2020

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Joel Revzen

Met Opera staff conductor who also graced regional stages from the Berkshires to Prague

1945 — May 25, 2020

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The Pointer Sisters in Cannes, France, circa 1970
Keystone / Getty Images

Bonnie Pointer

Singer and songwriter, founding sibling of the Pointer Sisters

July 11, 1950 — June 8, 2020

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Vera Lynn

English vocalist known as the "Forces Sweetheart" during World War II

March 20, 1917 — June 18, 2020

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Huey

St. Louis "Pop, Lock & Drop It" rapper

Sept. 12, 1987 — June 25, 2020

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Freddy Cole

Casually debonair jazz singer and pianist who emerged from the shadow of his brother, Nat

Oct. 15, 1931 — June 27, 2020

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Johnny Mandel

Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer and songwriter

Nov. 23, 1925 — June 29, 2020

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Jordan Groggs

Rapper in the Arizona group Injury Reserve

1988 — June 29, 2020

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Ida Haendel

Polish-born child prodigy who flourished in adulthood as one of the few women concert violinists of her generation

Dec. 15, 1928 — July 1, 2020

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Nick Cordero

Tony-nominated multi-talent whose struggle with COVID-19 captured (and broke) America's hearts

Sept. 17, 1978 — July 5, 2020

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Charlie Daniels

Country Music Hall of Fame fiddler and bandleader behind "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"

Oct. 28, 1936 — July 6, 2020

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Ennio Morricone poses in January 2005.
Andreas Solaro / AFP via Getty Images

Ennio Morricone

Italian composer who created the spaghetti Western sound

Nov. 10, 1928 — July 6, 2020

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Naya Rivera (center) on the set of Glee.
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Naya Rivera

Actor and singer known for the revolutionary role of Santana on the TV series Glee

Jan. 12, 1987 — July 8, 2020

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Eddie Gale

Trumpeter-bandleader who exemplified the spirit of an Afrocentric soul-jazz underground

Aug. 15, 1941 — July 10, 2020

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Patrick Ellis

"Gospel Spirit" host, longest running on-air personality in Washington radio history

May 30, 1943 — July 16, 2020

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Annie Ross

Jazz vocalese pioneer and member of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross

July 25, 1930 — July 21, 2020

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Peter Green

Blues rock singer and guitarist, founder of Fleetwood Mac

Oct. 29, 1946 — July 25, 2020

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Helen Jones Woods

Trombonist with the groundbreaking all-women big band The International Sweethearts of Rhythm

Oct. 9, 1923 — July 25, 2020

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Malik B.

Early member of The Roots

Nov. 14, 1972 — July 29, 2020

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Leon Fleisher

Exacting pianist who overcame injury through creative thinking and musical devotion

July 23, 1928 — Aug. 2, 2020

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Michael Peter Smith

Beloved Chicago-based singer-songwriter

Sept. 7, 1941 — Aug. 3, 2020

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Vern Rumsey

Founding Unwound member whose melodic bass lines rang with noise and distortion

Jan. 24, 1973 — Aug. 6, 2020

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Salome Bey
Boris Spremo / Toronto Star via Getty Images

Salome Bey

Singer and playwright known as Canada's "first lady of the blues"

Oct. 10, 1933 — Aug. 8, 2020

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Trini Lopez

Boundary-breaking performer whose music connected the folk revival to Latin music and rock and roll

May 15, 1937 — Aug. 11, 2020

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Steve Grossman

Saxophonist who took John Coltrane's lessons into new areas, including the jazz-rock of the 1970s

Jan. 18, 1951 — Aug. 13, 2020

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Willie Torres

Widely recorded salsa singer, best known as the voice of the groundbreaking Joe Cuba Sextet

Oct. 30, 1929 — Aug. 13, 2020

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Julian Bream

Classical guitarist and lutenist who expanded his instruments' repertoire

July 15, 1933 — Aug. 14, 2020

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Justin Townes Earle performs in California in 2013.
Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Justin Townes Earle

Millennial Americana music's favorite son

Jan. 4, 1982 — Aug. 20, 2020

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Charli Persip

Pacesetting modern jazz drummer best known for his tenure with Dizzy Gillespie

July 26, 1929 — Aug. 23, 2020

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Riley Gale

Throat-shredding vocalist for the Texas-based metal band Power Trip

Feb. 5, 1985 — Aug. 24, 2020

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Gary Peacock

Bassist who straddled avant-garde and straight-ahead jazz, notably in a long association with Keith Jarrett

May 12, 1935 — Sept. 4, 2020

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Yen Yung-neng

Taiwanese singer and founder of the group Takao Run, which gave contemporary voice to his homeland's rural traditions

Jan. 23, 1970 — Sept. 5, 2020

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Christiane Eda-Pierre

Martiniquan-French lyric coloratura who led the way in interpreting the music of Rameau and the French Baroque period

March 24, 1932 — Sept. 6, 2020

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Bruce Williamson Jr.

Gospel music prodigy who later sang with the Temptations

Sept. 29, 1970 — Sept. 6, 2020

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Simeon Coxe

The synthesizer half of the innovative electronic music duo Silver Apples

June 4, 1938 — Sept. 8, 2020

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Ronald Khalis Bell

Founding member of Kool & the Gang

Nov. 1, 1951 — Sept. 9, 2020

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Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals performs on stage in Hyde Park, London, 31st August 1974.
Michael Putland / Hulton Archive

Toots Hibbert

Soulful singer, songwriter and patriarch of reggae music

Dec. 8, 1942 — Sept. 11, 2020

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Stanley Crouch

Iconoclastic cultural critic and jazz champion

Dec. 14, 1945 — Sept. 16, 2020

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Gaetano "Tommy" DeVito

Founding member, vocalist and lead guitarist of rock band the Four Seasons

June 19, 1928 — Sept. 21, 2020

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Roy Head

Pioneering rock and roll wild man

Jan. 9, 1941 — Sept. 21, 2020

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Jacques-Louis Monod

French composer, conductor and pianist who furthered the ideas of the 20th century avant-garde

Feb. 25, 1927 — Sept. 21, 2020

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Ira Sullivan

Chicago jazz hero who distinguished himself on both trumpet and saxophone

May 1, 1931 — Sept. 21, 2020

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Juliette Greco

Vocalist and standard-bearer for chanson Francaise

Feb. 7, 1927 — Sept. 23, 2020

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Maynard Solomon

Musicologist, critically acclaimed biographer and co-founder of Vanguard Records

Jan. 5, 1930 — Sept. 28, 2020

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Mac Davis

Texan singer-songwriter who helped define crossover country music

Jan 21, 1942 — Sept. 29, 2020

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Helen Reddy performs onstage on October 1, 2016 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Charley Gallay / Getty Images

Helen Reddy

Singer behind '70s feminist anthem "I Am Woman"

Oct. 25, 1941 — Sept. 29, 2020

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Johnny Nash

Reggae-soul artist whose song "I Can See Clearly Now" is an enduring signifier of optimism

Aug. 19, 1940 — Oct. 6, 2020

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Eddie Van Halen (right) on stage with his son Wolfgang Van Halen in 2012.
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Eddie Van Halen

Heavy metal's most congenial guitar god

Jan. 26, 1955 — Oct. 6, 2020

*

Mohammad Reza Shajarian

Master of traditional Persian music, vocalist widely considered one of the greatest Iranian artists of all time

Sept. 23, 1940 — Oct. 8, 2020

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Jon Gibson

Minimalist composer, founding member of the Philip Glass Ensemble

March 11, 1940 — Oct. 11, 2020

*

Toshinori Kondo

Japanese trumpeter whose output spanned abrasive experimentalism and coolly ambient music

Dec. 15, 1948 — Oct. 17, 2020

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Jose Padilla

Ambient music producer, best known for his DJ work in the Café del Mar bar on the island of Ibiza

Dec. 4, 1955 — Oct. 18, 2020

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Spencer Davis

Founder of British rock band The Spencer Davis Group

July 17, 1939 — Oct. 19, 2020

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Viola Smith

One of the first professional female drummers, known for her five-decade career in orchestras, swing bands and popular music

Nov. 29, 1912 — Oct. 21, 2020

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Jerry Jeff Walker

Leading figure in the outlaw country music movement, writer behind 1968 hit song "Mr. Bojangles"

March 16, 1942 — Oct. 23, 2020

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Billy Joe Shaver performs in Nashville in 2013.
Rick Diamond / Getty Images

Billy Joe Shaver

Endorsed as the greatest country music songwriter by Willie Nelson

Aug. 16, 1939 — Oct. 28, 2020

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MF DOOM

The rapper and producer inhabited outsized characters with playful and twisted intricacy

Jan. 9, 1971 — Oct. 31, 2020

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Baron Wolman

Rolling Stone magazine's first chief photographer

June 25, 1937 — Nov. 2, 2020

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King Von

Emerging rapper best known for his contributions to Chicago's drill scene and sinister hit "Took Her to the O"

Aug. 9, 1994 — Nov. 6, 2020

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Candido Camero performs at the Duke Ellington 115th Birthday commemoration on April 27, 2014 in New York City.
Jemal Countess / Getty Images

Cándido Camero

Pioneer of Afro-Cuban jazz and innovator of conga drumming

April 22, 1921 — Nov. 7, 2020

*

Hal Ketchum

Rock-wise '90s country hitmaker

April 9, 1953 — Nov. 23, 2020

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LD Beghtol

Bon vivant and collaborator with Magnetic Fields

1964 — Dec. 7, 2020

*

Harold Budd

Pianist and composer of minimalist, meditational music

May 24, 1936 — Dec. 8, 2020

*

Sean Malone

Longtime bassist for metal band Cynic, as well as a professor of music theory

April 12, 1970 — Dec. 9, 2020

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Charley Pride performs during a taping of the "Grand Ole Opry" at Carnegie Hall November 14, 2005 in New York City.
Paul Hawthorne / Getty Images

Charley Pride

The first Black country music superstar

March 18, 1934 — Dec. 12, 2020

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"Blue" Gene Tyranny

Pianist and composer equally at home in the avant-garde and rock and roll

Jan. 1, 1945 — Dec. 12, 2020

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Pauline Anna Strom

Blind composer who surfed celestial skywaves with synths

1946 — 2020

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Sam Jayne

Founder of favorite Pacific Northwest bands Love as Laughter and Lync

1974 — Dec. 18, 2020

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K.T. Oslin

Midlife country music success story who spoke for ladies of the '80s

May 15, 1942 — Dec. 21, 2020

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Leslie West (right) with Felix Pappalardi of Mountin, performing in New York in 1971.
Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Leslie West

Mountain bandleader whose earthshaking guitar sound inspired many a metal player

Oct. 22, 1945 — Dec. 22, 2020

*

John "Ecstasy" Fletcher

Charismatic Whodini MC, brought flair and sexiness to early rap

June 7, 1964 — Dec. 23, 2020

*

Rebecca Luker

Crystalline-voiced star of many Broadway revivals including The Sound of Music and The Music Man

April 17, 1961 — Dec. 23, 2020

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Tony Rice

Acoustic guitarist, singer and bluegrass paradigm shifter

June 8, 1951 — Dec. 25, 2020

*

Mexican singer and composer Armando Manzanero performs in Havana on July 15, 2018.
Jorge Beltran / AFP via Getty Images

Armando Manzanero

Composer and performer known as "the romantic soul of Mexico"

Dec. 7, 1935 — Dec. 28, 2020

*

Claude Bolling

French pianist, composer and big band leader

April 10, 1930 — Dec. 29, 2020

*

Frank Kimbrough

Pianist and educator with a distinguished solo career, and a longtime member of the Maria Schneider Orchestra

Nov. 2, 1956 — Dec. 30, 2020

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: January 1, 2021 at 11:00 PM CST
A previous version of this story incorrectly listed Sean Malone's birth date as Jan, 1, 1970. He was born April 12, 1970. A previous version of this story incorrectly described producer Hal Willner. He was a live event record producer, curator of tributes and musical matchmaker — not a Nashville-based singer-songwriter.