Passings: Lew Soloff, Jazz & Blood, Sweat & Tears Trumpeter (1944 - 2015)

Lew Soloff, who had a long and successful career and jazz and was an integral part of the Blood, Sweat and Tears at their peak, died Sunday morning after suffering a major heart attack.  He was 71.

Lew's daughter, Laura Solomon, wrote a touching tribute on her Facebook page:
Tonight I lost my dad. We flew to New York to spend the week with him and my sister, enjoyed the day together, had dinner at our favorite grub spot. On the way home, he suffered a massive heart attack and collapsed into my arms on the sidewalk in front of my husband and children. I performed CPR with the help of a passerby and continued to assist after EMTs arrived. He died at the scene, was resuscitated, made it through an angioplasty but couldn't stabilize afterward and passed away just before 1:00 AM.

My dad was amazing. He could drive me fucking crazy, but that didn't make him any less essential to my life. He loved his grandkids. He loved my sister and me. He was one of the greatest trumpet players in the world and I'm so proud to be his daughter. I'm so happy to carry on a fraction of his musicality in the now rare moments that I pick up my violin.

Dad had more friends than anyone I know. He was always on the phone. Always. Even when it was totally inappropriate. He was so loved by so many. His life overflowed with people who cared for him. I am so thankful for you all.

I am devastated. I can't picture my life or my kids' lives without him in it. It doesn't seem real. It's definitely not fair. But I am so grateful to have spent my dad's last day on Earth together in New York City.

Please keep my family in your thoughts and respect our privacy during this awful time. We're hurting badly.

We will release details about a Memorial as we're able to piece things together.
Soloff was born in Brooklyn and raised in Lakewood, NJ where he began studying piano at an early age. When he was ten, he took up the trumpet, eventually attending the Julliard Preparatory School and, later, the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.

After one year of graduate school at Julliard, Lew became involved in the New York latin jazz and jazz scene, playing with artists like Maynard Ferguson, Joe Henderson, Tito Puente and Gil Evans.

Soloff joined Blood, Sweat and Tears after their first Columbia album, replacing, along with Chuck Winfield, the departing Randy Brecker and Jerry Weiss. The new lineup was rounded out by lead singer David Clayton-Thomas. Their self-titled second album became a lynchpin for the up-and-coming jazz-rock movement, winning the Grammy for Album of the Year and spawning three major hits, You've Made Me So Very Happy (1969 / #2), Spinning Wheel (1969 / #2) and And When I Die (1969 / #2).

They followed with Blood, Sweat and Tears 3 and BS&T 4 before Clayton-Thomas decided to strike out on his own. Soloff stayed with the group under new frontman Jerry Fisher and their 1972 album, New Blood, moved the group towards a jazz-fusion sound. Lew played on one last album, 1973's No Sweat, before moving on.

Soloff went on to be one of the great jazz studio players, appearing on a long list of albums by artists such as George Benson, Gil Evans, Carla Bley and Jimmy Heath along with such pop and rock artists as Charlie Musselwhite, Marianne Faithfull, Frank Sinatra and Art Garfunkel. He was also a regular member of the Manhattan Jazz Quartet and Members Only.

Lew was also a professor for over twenty years at the Manhattan School of Music and an adjunct professor at Julliard and the New School.

10 comments

Anonymous said...

I don't know why people have to constantly use the F bomb for emphasis. Perhaps talking like that is acceptable in small circles, but not everyone is 'hip' to vulgar adjectives. Ruined her tribute and to me cheapened it. So sorry for her's and family's loss.

Anonymous said...

I concor!

Kimberly Mallett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susie V Kaufman said...

Ah, so f**King what, for god's sake?! I used that very same word the second I learned that Lew Soloff, an old friend, had died earlier today. Don't ruin the article or his daughter's emotional words by YOUR words -- this is not the place, damnit.

Ed DePalma said...

Susie, I agree with you wholeheartedly. To Laura, condolences to you and your family. Lew was truly a giant in the world of music. edp.

Kim Swords said...

Hey laura,
I met your dad a couple of months ago and I thought he was such a sweet man. Even though he drank my last Deer Park water.. Lol.. I just wanted to let you know that I take care of a client who knows your dad very very well. He stopped by here on his way back home just to say hi to him.. Please accept our condoliciances..
Kim Swords

Kim Swords said...

Ok so my Swype said it's own thing and I didn't spell check.. :)
Condolences *****

Kim Swords said...

Ok so my Swype said it's own thing and I didn't spell check.. :)
Condolences *****

Kim Swords said...

Hey laura,
I met your dad a couple of months ago and I thought he was such a sweet man. Even though he drank my last Deer Park water.. Lol.. I just wanted to let you know that I take care of a client who knows your dad very very well. He stopped by here on his way back home just to say hi to him.. Please accept our condoliciances..
Kim Swords

Anonymous said...

Let me extend my condolences to you + your family. I've recently lost the person closest to me in my world + am going through a grief process. And learning of your dad's passing struck me in a much stronger way than expected. Although I'd met him many years ago + did not keep in touch, his kind soul left a lasting impression. I'm so sorry that he left this earth at such a relatively young age.

It's fortunate that you could spend his last hours with him. May your loving memories bring you some comfort at this difficult time.

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