LIONEL  HAMPTON  DEAD  AT  94
Superstar Theresa Merritt-Hines Gone But
Not Forgotten - Leaving Millions of Fans
Broadway -Movies-Television- Recording
Industry to Mourn Worldwide
KURT CARR
"Surely God Is Able"
Gospecentric Label
QUEEN ESTHER
MARROW
'How I Got Over"
EMI Gospel
World famous orchestra
leader and the person
responsible for jump starting
many careers like that of
legendary
QUINCY JONES
died this morning.  My
wonderful friend
"SURELY GOD IS ABLE"
&
"HOW I GOT OVER
By: Gatsby Melodi'
Gatsby Melodi' and superstar
Theresa Merritt on stage NYC
Grand Finale
This was one of Clara's favorite
photos in her early years.   
Lionel Hampton passed  away Saturday,
August 31, 2002
in a NYC hospital.  I
learned from Lionel Hampton  the true
meaning of  FRIENDSHIP.  He saw no evil.  
He spoke no evil.  He refused to listen to
evil.  Lionel Hampton will forever be
missed by me & all those whose life he
touched.  GOD Bless  LIONEL's spirit.
Gatsby Melodi and
Theresa Merritt
Although Clara never married or had children,
she desperately loved Mother Gertrude Ward,
her mother, and confident to all of us.  
Aretha
Franklin called her "momma".

It is said that Aretha Franklin wanted Clara to
marry her father, Rev. C. L. Franklin, after her
mother's demise.  
Aretha writes love and
memories of Clara in her  autobiography.

Rev. James Cleveland,
Nancy Wilson, Ray
Charles,
Ike & Tina Turner were only a few of
her neighbors in the View Park section of
Balldwin Hills, CA.  Mother Ward always
answered her telephone saying "Surely, God
Is Able", another song penned by Clara Ward.

It was her third stroke of the brain when she
was performing in Sydney, Australia, that
inspired Clara Ward,  to write the now
legendary song "How I Got Over".

Known for their big hair, big voices and stage
presence, Clara Ward & The Ward Singers,
became international stars performing to
audiences exceeding 100,000.   

Clara had been given up on medically.  Mother
Ward was told Clara would be dead by night.  
Mother Ward prayed as did hundred's of
millions around the world.  When Clara came
out of the comma the following morning, the
first thing she did, was to ask her mother
Gertrude Ward to hand her a pen and paper,
and Clara blew life into a song still sung and
admired over 40 years later,  "How I Got
Over".Regrettably it was her fourth aneurysm
which ultimately took her life, in 1973.

I will always remember how my comical
friend, Clara loved The
Flip Wilson Show.  She
would rather not speak telephonically during
the television broadcast.   Clara was subject
to answer the phone saying, "Who is this
disturbing me while I'm watching
Flip Wilson."
Born: Sept 24, 1924
Theresa Merritt
starring in
Died: June 12, 1998
ABC-TV "That's My
Momma"
 Broadway's      
"THE WIZ"
Theresa Merritt-Hines, Gone but Not Forgotten
"Thanks For The Memories" back at cha
Theresa.  I pray we meet again in our  
Heavenly Father's Kingdom. GOD Bless
THERESA's spirit.
Drummer ELVIN JONES Dead of
Heart Failure May 18, 2004
Wife Keiko Jones is  sad
to report the passing her
husband / drummer
Paul Winfield   Age: 62
Academy Award-nominated
actor who was known for
his versatility in stage, film
and television roles,
including a highly praised
1978 depiction of the Rev.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Winfield died March 7th
2004 of a heart attack.
Elvin Jones, who succumbed to heart failure
onTuesday, May 18, in New York.

An esteemed member of the
Blue Note family,
Elvin graced the club's stage annually over the
past 20 years and considered the club to be
his performance home.  
 He last played the
club in December 2003, and was scheduled
to return in June.  Steven Bensusan,
President of the Blue Note, said, "Elvin was a
giant and we felt privileged to have him.  May
he rest easy."  
Jones, whose explosive drumming powered
the John Coltrane Quartet, the most influential
and controversial jazz ensemble of the 1960's,
died yesterday in Manhattan. He was 76 and
lived in Manhattan and Nagasaki, Japan.

Mr. Jones's death, which came after several
months of failing health, was announced by
John DeChristopher, director of artist relations
for the Avedis Zildjian Company, maker of Mr.
Jones's cymbals. Mr. Jones continued to
perform until a few weeks ago, often taking an
oxygen tank onto the bandstand.

Mr. Jones, a fixture of the Coltrane group from
late 1960 to early 1966 and for more than
three decades the leader of several
noteworthy groups of his own, was the first
great post-bebop percussionist. Building on
the innovations of the jazz modernists Kenny
Clarke and Max Roach, who liberated the
drum kit from a purely time-keeping function in
the 1940's, he paved the way for a later
generation of drummers who dispensed with
a steady rhythmic pulse altogether in the
interest of greater improvisational freedom.
But he never lost that pulse: the beat was
always palpable when he played, even as he
embellished it with layer upon layer of
interlocking polyrhythms.
Born Sept 9, 1927-Died: May 18, 2004
Ron Oneal   Age: 66
Actor Ron O'Neal, best known
for starring in two "Superfly"
blaxploitation movies in the
1970s. O'Neal, who was 66,
died Jan. 14th, 2004 at Cedars
Sinai Medical Center in Los
Angeles after a long battle with
cancer.
Fred Berry  Age: 52
Actor Fred Berry, best known
as "Rerun" on the 1970s TV
show
"What's Happening"
died Oct 2003
Joe Williams (Joseph
Goreed) Age: 80
Beloved jazz and blues great.
Popular in his own right, he
was also known for his
collaborations with Count
Basie in the 1950s and early
'60s. Died: Las Vegas, Nev.,
March 29, 1999
Grammy-Winning Legend Ray Charles A Transcendent
Talent Who Erased Musical Boundaries  Dies Thursday
June 10, 2004   At  Age 73
Ray Charles, a transcendent talent who
erased musical boundaries between the
sacred and the secular with hits such as
"What'd I Say,"
"Georgia on My Mind" and "I
Can't Stop Loving You," died Thursday,
June 10, 2004.    He was 73.
Grover Washington, Jr. Age: 56
Grammy Award-winning
influential jazz saxophonist who
shifted with ease from jazz to
pop to R&B to funk. A
mainstream and commercial
success,
Washington released
more than 30 albums, including
Come Morning, Winelight, and
The Best Is Yet to Come. He
died of a heart attack in New
York City, December 17, 1999
Charles died of acute liver disease at his Beverly Hills home at 11:35
a.m., surrounded by family and friends, said spokesman Jerry Digney.

Ray Charles Robinson was born Sept. 23, 1930, in Albany, Ga. His father,
Bailey Robinson, was a mechanic and a handyman, and his mother,
Aretha, stacked boards in a sawmill. His family moved to Greenville, Fla.,
when Charles was an infant.

Charles, who was divorced twice and single since 1952, was survived by
12 children, 20 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. A memorial
service was planned for next week at Los Angeles' First AME Church, with
burial afterward at Inglewood Cemetery.
Best Know As "Weezie" From Television's "The
Jefferson's"
ISABELLE SANFORD Dead At Age 86
LOS ANGELES -
Actress
Isabel
Sanford, best
known as
"Weezie," Louise
Jefferson on the
television sitcom
"The Jeffersons,"
died of natural
causes, her
publicist said
Monday. She was
86.
Mabel King, Age 67
Actress and singer who played
the Wicked Witch of the West in
the film and Broadway
productions of The Wiz, and
starred in the television show
"What's Happening "Died: in
Woodland Hills, CA Nov 9, 1999
My friend  Sarah Vaugh  Age 66 -born March 27, 1924,
Newark, N.J. died. April 3, 1990, Hidden Hills, Calif..  
American jazz singer and pianist, lauded for her ability
to command pitch and dynamics across three vocal
octaves, whose singing style was informed by the
harmony and improvisation of jazz horn sections.

Sarah Vaughan was one of the kindest people I have
ever met and admired. She would give her last
"anything" if it would make you happy. Bye B-a-b-y.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr.
Age: 38
Charismatic magazine editor
and former lawyer who, born
just three weeks after his
father's election to the
presidency, grew up in the
spotlight and never escaped
it. Admired for his
enthusiasm, his charity, and
his photogenic good looks,
Kennedy was mourned by
thousands worldwide after his
tragic death when the plane
he was piloting crashed near
Martha's Vineyard, Mass,
July 16, 1999
Sanford died Friday, July 9, 2004, at
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she had
been hospitalized since July 4, her daughter,
Pamela Ruff, was at her side. Her health had
waned after undergoing preventive surgery on
a neck artery 10 months ago.

Sanford co-starred with Sherman Hemsley
from 1975 to 1985 on CBS'
"The Jeffersons,"
a spin-off of the popular series "All in the
Family," in which she also appeared.

In 1981, Sanford became the first black
woman to receive an Emmy for Best Actress
in a Comedy Series for her work on
"The
Jeffersons."

Sanford, a native New Yorker, was joined by
"Jeffersons" creator Norman Lear and others
in January when she received a star on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame.

"Here with stars in my eyes - something that I
dreamed about when I was 9 years old," she
said at the time. "There are others that
deserve it, but let everybody get their own."

Sanford made her feature film debut in the
1967 classic, "Guess Who's Coming to
Dinner."

Recently, Sanford lent her voice to "The
Simpsons" and appeared in commercial
campaigns for Denny's restaurants and
retailer Old Navy.
Singer/songwriter Syreeta Wright,best known for her duet with Billy Preston on
'With You I’m Born Again' and as the former wife of
Stevie Wonder, died
Monday July 5, 2004 At 58
LOS ANGELES - Singer/songwriter Syreeta Wright,
best known for her duet with
Billy Preston on “With You
I’m Born Again” and as the former wife of
Stevie
Wonder, died Monday after a long struggle with
cancer. She was 58.
LaWanda Page  Age: 81
Actress who played
wisecracking Aunt Esther on
Sanford and Son. Died: Los
Angeles, Sept. 14, 2002
Wright recorded six albums for Motown, the most notable being the first two, which
were produced by Wonder.

Born Rita Wright in Pittsburgh, Syreeta was working in the ’60s as a
Motown
secretary when she was enlisted as a backup singer. Founder
Berry Gordy later
signed her to the label and she recorded a Brian Holland/Ashford & Simpson tune
initially meant for
Diana Ross, “I Can’t Give Back the Love I Feel for You.”

Wright married Wonder in 1970. Although the union lasted only two years, their
professional collaboration as songwriters spawned a series of hits, including “If
You Really Love Me,” “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” and the Spinners’ “It’s
a Shame.”

She released her first Wonder-produced Motown album, the critically acclaimed
“Syreeta,” under the MoWest imprint in 1972. “
Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta,”
which musically depicted their relationship from love/marriage to divorce/enduring
friendship, was released in 1974. The titles peaked at No. 185 and No. 116,
respectively, on Billboard’s album chart.

Her best showing on the chart came with 1980’s simply titled “Syreeta,” released
on Motown’s Tamla imprint, which reached No. 73. The duet with Preston, “With
You I’m Born Again,” originally appeared on that year’s soundtrack to the
Paramount movie “Fast Break.” The track reached No. 4 on Billboard’s Hot 100
singles chart in 1980.

Wright, who recorded her last studio album, “The Spell,” in 1983, boasted a
resume that includes work with
Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, Leon Ware and
Donald Byrd, among others.
Nell Carter  Age: 54
Flamboyant singer and
actress who won a Tony and
an Emmy Award for her
performance in Ain't
Misbehavin'. She starred in
the television series Gimme
a Break! Died: Beverly Hills,
Calif., Jan. 23, 2003
Barry White  Age: 58
Grammy Award–winning R&B
singer and disco icon known
for his lush baritone bass
voice. His soulful, seductive
songs include “Can't Get
Enough of Your Love, Babe”
and “You're the First, the Last,
My Everything.”  Died: Los
Angeles, July 4, 2003
Rick James Age 56
Legendary Motown
recording artist  died in his
sleep at his residence
near Universal City, said
publicist Sujata Murthy.
James lived alone and
was found dead by his
personal assistant, who
notified police, she said.

Born:  February 1, 1948 -
Died: August 6, 2004
Katharine Hepburn  Age: 96
Independent, sophisticated
film, stage, and television
actress whose career
spanned nearly 70 years.
Spencer Tracy was
Hepburn's leading man and
romantic partner, and they
appeared in nine films
together including State of the
Union and Adam's Rib.
Hepburn's roles as
strong-willed, dry-witted
women mirrored her real-life
personality. Her other films
include Morning Glory, African
Queen, The Philadelphia
Story, and On Golden Pond.
Died: Old Saybrook, Conn.,
June 29, 2003
Doris Troy  Age: 67
Pop singer who
recorded the 1963 hit
“Just One Look.”

She sang backup for
such bands as the
Rolling Stones and
Pink Floyd. Her life
story inspired the
musical "Mama, I
Want to Sing".  Died:
Las Vegas, February
16, 2004
Edwin Starr  Age: 61
Soul singer best known for
his Grammy-winning 1970
hit, “War.”  Died: Nottingham,
England, April 2, 2003
John Whitehead Age: 55
R&B singer and songwriter
who, with Gene McFadden,
recorded a string of hits in the
1970s, including the No. 1 hit
“Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now,”
which has become the
unofficial anthem for the
Philadelphia Phillies and the
Philadelphia Eagles.
Murdered: Philadelphia,
May 11, 2004
Gregory Hines  Age: 57
Versatile performer who
began his career as a
tap
dancer and successfully
crossed over into acting. He
received four Tony
nominations, and won for
Best Actor in a Musical for
Jelly's Last Jam. His film
roles include The Cotton
Club and White Nights,
opposite Mikhail Baryshnikov.
He starred in the sitcom The
Gregory Hines Show. He died
of cancer.  Died: Los
Angeles, Aug. 9, 2003
Robert Stack  Age: 84
Rugged actor whose film and
television career spanned 60
years. He's most famous for
his role as Eliot Ness in the
television series The
Untouchables. His film
credits include The Bullfighter
and the Lady. Died: Los
Angeles, May 14, 2003
Carl Anderson Age 58
Singer/Actor Born February 27,  1945 Died February  23, 2004
After a long bout with leukemia, Carl Anderson went to be with
the Lord.  Carl spent much of his last years reprising his role as
Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar to sold-out auditoriums around
the globe.  As a solo artist, Carl recorded hits including "How
Deep Does It Go," "Pieces Of A Heart," "Hot Coffee,"
Nina Simone (Eunice Kathleen
Waymoa) Age: 70
Sultry chanteuse whose difficult-
to-classify music combined jazz,
classical, folk, and gospel. Her
biggest hit was “My Baby Just
Cares for Me..” A civil rights
activist, she recorded
“Mississippi Goddam” after the
murder of Medgar Evers.
Died: Carry-le-Rouet, France,
April 21, 2003
Hakeem Is Dead At Age 31 * Actor Lamont Bentley Killed
in Car Crash - He Was Only Person In Car
Josephine Esther Mentzer
Age 95
started a small
business making beauty
products in her kitchen and
turned it into an international
cosmetics empire.Fiscal
2003 sales were $5.12
billion.  The Queens, N.Y.,
native was always called
"Esty" by her family. A school
administrator once spelled it
"Estee," and the new name
stuck. She wed
businessman Joseph Lauter
(later changed to Lauder) in
1930, and joined forces with
her uncle John Schotz to
create her first make-up
products. Soon Estée began
experimenting with her own
blends of creams, ointments,
perfumes and powders.

(EL) today announced the
passing of its distinguished
founder,
Estee Lauder, at her
home in Manhattan on
April 24, 2004.
She had not been active in
the Company since her
retirement in 1995.
Mrs. Lauder is survived by her
sons, Leonard A. Lauder and
Ronald S. Lauder; her
daughters-in-law, Evelyn H.
Lauder and Jo Carole
Lauder; her grandchildren,
Aerin, Gary, Jane and
William, and six great
grandchildren.
Lamont Bentley made his heart and mind known
to the world as a regular in the 1990s sitcom

"Moesha"
.  Later he appeared frequently in
television shows like
"The Parkers", and movies.  
He  was killed in a car crash,Tuesday January
18, 2005,  his manager, Susan Ferris said
Wednesday,

Bentley died Tuesday night when his vehicle
plunged off the San Diego Freeway. His manager
said. he was the only person in the vehicle.

Bentley, 31, played Hakeem Campbell, the
longtime friend of pop singer
Brandy's character,
Moesha Mitchell, in the UPN sitcom "Moesha."
Estee
Lauder
R&B Great Tyrone Davis is Dead At
Age 66
Fri Feb 1, 2005
CHICAGO  -
Legendary rhythm
and blues soul
singer Tyrone Davis,
who vaulted to fame
with hits such as
"Can I Change My
Mind"
Lamont Bentley
Bentley had appeared in a number of films, including "The Wash" and "Tales
From the Hood." He also played
Tupac Shakur in the TV movie, "Too Legit:
The MC Hammer Story," and had appeared in guest roles on "The Parkers,"
"NYPD Blue" and "Clueless."

The Milwaukee native and father of two daughters began his career after
moving to Los Angeles with his mother, an aspiring singer.

"This was a big year for him," manager, Ferris said.  "We were very excited
because he was coming into his own. It's like a candle being snuffed right out."
Tyrone Davis
and "Turn Back the Hands of Time," died
Feb. 9 at a hospital in west suburban
Hinsdale. He was 66.

Surrounded by family and friends, Davis'
death comes four months after suffering a
stroke, which doctors said was made worse
by him being a diabetic. He had remained in
the hospital since October until his release
last week.
Playwright Arthur Miller Dies
Johnny Carson Dead At 79 -  His nephew says he
passed away this morning surrounded by family
Roxbury, CT 2/11/2005
- Arthur Miller, the
Pulitzer Prize-winning
playwright whose most
famous fictional
Johnny Carson, the "Tonight Show" host
who served America a smooth nightcap
of celebrity banter and droll comedy for
30 years, died Sunday, January 23,
2005.  He was 79. "

Mr. Carson passed away peacefully
early Sunday morning," his nephew, Jeff
Sotzing, said.  "He was surrounded by
his family."
Arthur Miller
creation, Willy Loman in "Death of a
Salesman," came to symbolize the
American Dream gone awry, has died. He
was 89.

Miller, who had been hailed as America's
greatest living playwright, died Thursday
(Feb 10) night at his home in Roxbury of
heart failure, his assistant, Julia Bolus,
said Friday. His family was at his bedside,
she said.

His plays, with their strong emphasis on
family, morality and personal responsibility,
spoke to the growing fragmentation of
American society.
OSSIE DAVIS, BELOVED ACTOR AND HUMANITARIAN,
REMEMBERED Visitation and Funeral Service, Open to
the Public, Set for Friday and Saturday
He did not provide further details, but NBC said Carson died of
emphysema at his Malibu home.
Feb 4, 2005- Funeral services for
the late
Ossie Davis, 87, noted
writer, actor and activist, have been
confirmed.

In keeping with the spirit of his life
and his concern for humanity, both
his visitation and funeral are open
to the public.

VISITATION:
Fri, Feb 11- 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Abyssinian Baptist Church
132 W. 138th Street, Manhattan

FUNERAL DETAILS:  
Saturday, February 12-12 noon
Riverside Church
490 Riverside Drive, Manhattan
Between October 1, 1962 and
May 22nd, 1992, Carson
walked out to deliver his
monologue 4,531 times. His
quickness and his ability to
handle an audience were
impressive. When his jokes
missed their target, the smooth
Carson won over a groaning
studio audience with a clever
look or sly, self-deprecating
remark.
Bette Midler caresses Carson
during his next-to-last taping
of "The Tonight Show" in
Burbank, Ca., Thursday,
May 21, 1992.
Heeeeere's Johnny!" was the booming announcement from
sidekick Ed McMahon that ushered Carson out to the stage.
McMahon said Sunday that Carson was "like a brother to me."
Jimmy Smith Famed Jazz Organist
and Pioneer Dies At Age 79
CABARET SINGER BOBBY SHORT DIES AT 80
Feb 12, 2005 -SCOTTSDALE,
Ariz. -Jimmy Smith, the
Hammond B-3 icon who
creatively revolutionized the
instrument in Jazz,  found
dead at his home of apparent
natural causes on Feb 8, in
Scottsdale, Arizona.
Ossie Davis
March 22, 2005 - Legendary
cabaret singer Bobby Short,
who played for more than
three decades at New York's
Café Carlyle, died of leukemia
today at the age of 80.

"Not long ago, his appeal
seemed largely confined to
The presiding ministers at the ecumenical service will be the
Reverend James Forbes, pastor of Riverside Church, and the
Reverend Calvin O. Butts III, pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church,
where Davis was a member.

Ossie Davis, the actor distinguished for roles dealing with racial
injustice on stage, screen and in real life died Friday, Feb 4, 2005.
He was 87.

FAMILY REQUEST:  In lieu of flowers the family requests that
donations be made in Mr. Davis’s name to one or more of the
following organizations:
Oxfam America, Sudan Crisis Relief Fund, P.O. Box 1211, Albert
Lea, Minnesota 56007-1211
EXCEL Institute, 2266 25th Place, NE, Washington, D.C. 20018
Attn.: George Starke
WBAI Pacifica Radio, 120 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005
Attn.:  Mr. Bernard White
Today’s Students/Tomorrow’s Teachers, 3 West Main Street, 2nd
Floor, Elmsford, NY 10523; Attn.: Dr. Betty Perkins
Jimmy Smith
Born in Norristown, Pennsylvania on Dec. 8,
1925, Jimmy Smith ruled the Hammond B-3
organ in the 1950s & 1960s.

He turned the instrument into almost an
ensemble itself, fusing R&B, blues, and
gospel influences with bebop references into
a jubilant, attractive sound that many others
immediately absorbed before following in his
footsteps.

A national tour was in place for the B-3 soul
mates to commence at Yoshi's Feb. 16-20,
along with a special Iridium engagement in
New York, March 23-27.
Jesse Norman and Bobby
Short at his 80's birthday party
New York but now just about everyone everywhere seems to
be enchanted by Bobby", wrote
TIME Magazine.

Newsweek wrote, "Like the songs he sings and plays,
Bobby Short is a collector's item. And the people who
collected him are legion, from the Duke and Duchess of
Windsor and Eugene McCarthy to Norman Mailer and
Leontyne Price. He's an easily acquired taste – like caviar
and champagne."
David Janssen age 48
Actor best known for tv role as
Dr. Richard Kimble on THE
FUGITIVE, achieved a prolific
output, starring in 3 other
television series, and logging
44 feature films, 20 television
movies, and countless other
appearances, onto his resume.

He was born in Naponee,
Nebraska on March 27, 1931
as David Harold Meyer, died In
the early morning hours on Feb
13, 1980, Janssen suffered a
heart attack and died at his
beach house in Malibu in the
presence of his wife, Dani.  He
had an IQ of 160 and would
read 6 books per week.  He is
buried in Hillside Memorial
Park Cemetery in Culver City,
CA.  Cause of death is heart
failure.