Les McCann, pioneer of jazz sampled by many rappers, has died

Music news

Singer Les McCann has been sampled by Notorious BIG, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre.

Les McCann, an avant-garde pianist and singer known for his fusion of jazz, funk and R&B and a pioneer of soul jazz, died Friday at the age of 88.

The cause of death has not been revealed, but his manager Alan Abrahams told NBC News that the musician died in a Los Angeles hospital after contracting pneumonia a week ago.

According to New York Timesthe singer had been living in a skilled nursing facility in Los Angeles for four years.

McCann, best remembered for his 1967 protest song “ Compared to What ”, alongside saxophonist Eddie Harris, released more than 50 albums throughout his life. But much of his music survives thanks to classic hip-hop songs that sampled his work: “ 10 Crack Commandments » by Notorious BIG samples his composition « Vallarta “, ” After Hours » from A Tribe Called Quest sample « North Carolina “, And ” Next Episode » by Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre sample « Go on and Cry “.

According to Timesnearly 300 artists, including Warren G., Slick Rick, Cypress Hill and Nas, have taken inspiration from McCann’s work and sampled it in their music.

Born in Lexington, Kentucky in 1935, McCann formed a trio after being discharged from the US Navy. During his service, the musician won a talent competition and performed on The Ed Sullivan Show. He released the albums Les McCann Plays the Truth And The Shout in 1960, when he was becoming known as a musician, according to Variety.

The musician then signed with Atlantic in 1968 and released a cover of Gene McDaniels’ Compared to What » in 1969, marking one of the biggest releases of his career.

When I heard ithe said in 2017 about McDaniels’ piece, I hired him in my band – one of the best singers I’ve ever heard. And I discovered that he wrote too. We stayed in touch for years after that, and he was always sending me songs. I can’t tell you how many songs he sent me, but that one stuck out in my memory. »


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