HORACE PARLAN, 86, on Feb. 23 in Korsor, Denmark. A jazz pianist who was unable to use the middle two fingers of his right hand (because polio left him partly paralyzed on the right side of his body), but who forged a style that impressed critics as well as his fellow musicians. Making greater use of his left hand that most pianists when improvising melody lines, he said, “I was trying to voice chords using as few notes as possible. I had to find a groove of my own.”
DAVE VALENTIN, 64, on March 8 in New York City from a 2012 stroke and subsequent cardiovascular events. A flutist who released more than 20 albums in a variety of Latin and Latin-fusion settings. Originally a drummer, his style was described as “born of his percussive instincts, incorporating syncopation, forceful staccato burst to create drum-like effects and a number of growling vocalizations generating sharp overtones—on top of a mellow and classic flute sound.”
JIM CZAK, on March 15. Co-owner and the chief mixer at Nola Recording Studio in New York City. Having recorded a veritable who’s who of jazz musicians and big bands over the past 41 years, he explained his function, saying, “I’m not really an engineer. I consider myself an audio mixer—sort of like a cook. You can learn all the ingredients, but putting them together is an art. It’s more art than science.”
CHUCK BERRY, 90, on March 18 at his home in Wentzville, Missouri. A guitarist, singer and songwriter, he is considered “the Father of Rock and Roll” who refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made Rock and Roll distinctive, with lyrics that focused on teen life and consumerism, and music featuring guitar solos and showmanship. He was among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland in 1995.