Legendary British saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith, who played with a list of musicians that reads like a who's who of the international jazz and rock music scene, died Friday (Dec. 17) of cancer. He
Legendary British saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith, who played with a list of musicians that reads like a who's who of the international jazz and rock music scene, died Friday (Dec. 17) of cancer. He was 70.
"He was a giant of the music industry," musician and long-time friend Roger Bunn tells Reuters.
Heckstall-Smith, born Richard Malden in Sept. 1934, played with the likes of John Mayall, Alexis Korner, Jack Bruce, Mick Jagger and Ginger Baker as well as fronting bands including Colosseum -- an influential jazz/rock ensemble in the late 60s.
Bruce, bassist of Cream, described Heckstall-Smith as his "musical father."
When Colosseum folded in 1971, Heckstall-Smith went solo and formed his own band Manchild, which toured the United States supporting Fleetwood Mac and Deep Purple.
A severe spinal problem forced him to stop playing and touring for several years, but in 1981 he returned to the stage with a new band Mainsqueeze, which toured supporting Bo Diddley.
Heckstall-Smith then directed his talents to Celtic folk music, African-influenced jazz and blues until illness struck again in 1992 in the shape of two severe strokes while on the operating table for a heart bypass operation.
A year later he was back in the studio with Bruce and in 1994 the original line-up of Colosseum reformed for a full-scale European tour, releasing its first studio album in 27 years in 1997.
In his later years, Heckstall-Smith divided his time between Colosseum and the hard-working Hamburg Blues Band.