Jazz guitar great James Mundell Lowe, best known as "Mundy," who died Saturday December 2nd in San Diego at 95, had the good fortune to be able to celebrate that birthday onstage, guitar in hand, performing as he had since his teens. Despite battling two forms of cancer, kidney disease and cardiac problems in the past ten years, Lowe persevered until suffering a fall several weeks ago.
Joe at Lawrence Music in 2014 Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette
Joe Negri turned 90 last month (actual date: June 10). Two weeks ago, he returned to the Omni William Penn to an appreciative audience including many in the local jazz scene, some involved with the former WDUQ and myself. Marketing Director Bob Page brought out a birthday cake with one candle for each decade.
Johnny Smith was jazz guitar royalty, even though he hadn't recorded for many decades and performed only infrequently over the past 30 years or so. When he died in Colorado Springs at 90 on June 11, he's not only remembered as a jazz guitar fountainhead, but for composing a tune that became a rock guitar standard.