JOHN CIESLAK, 81, from cardiovascular issues on May 19 in Scottsdale, AZ. A multi-instrumentalist, best known as a longtime member of Igor’s Jazz Cowboys. Garbed in blue denim like the horse soldiers of the Old West, the Cowboys were one of the more popular bands on the festival circuit for 30 years, presenting a combination of country-western strings and vocal orientation along with chord changes of classic jazz melodies, plus a high level of showmanship. Igor Glenn, whose musical association with “Big John” goes back to 1973, estimates that they performed at over 50 different jazz festivals totaling approximately 300 appearances through the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Australia. John attended Berklee College of Music and previous toured with the Tex Beneke Orchestra and as music director and arranger for vocalist Guy Madison.
GREGG ALLMAN, 69, due to liver cancer complications on May 27 in Savannah, Georgia. A founding member of the Allman Brothers band, he overcame family tragedy, drug addiction and health problems to become an elder statesman for the blues music he loved, which was a blend of blues, country, Southern rock, and jazz. He played the Hammond organ, sang lead vocals, and wrote some of the band’s signature songs. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Cher was the third of Allman’s six wives.