2012... Marking the death of three great musical innovators...
|They say it comes in threes. If that's true, then the death this week of Indian music legend Ravi Shankar ends the trend, at least for this year.|
You see, 2012 will go down as the year that the music world lost not just three talented gifted performers, because many more were lost that fit that category. No, 2012 will forever be known as the year that we lost three of the greatest innovators ever in music.
The deaths this year not only of Ravi Shankar but last week of jazz legend Dave Brubeck and earlier this year of bluegrass pioneer Earl Scruggs are the marks of the end of an age.
Each of these three, in their own way, forever changed the music scene.
If you like listening to world music, thank Ravi Shankar, who along with former Beatle George Harrison did much to show that there was a lot of great music that was not just centered around guitars, drums, rock and roll, the US and Britain. Shankar, the father of Norah Jones played the sitar, an instrument foreign to the west before he came along and made it popular.
Dave Brubeck was a master of time. A great jazz pianist, Brubeck was not content to rest on the status quo. At a time when most music followed a certain beat and time, think 4/4 or 3/4, Brubeck wasted that idea and soon we had music being played in 6/4, 7/8 and even 9/8 time. Trust me here, if you've never played music, you have no idea how hard those beats are. He was a genius.
Finally, Earl Scruggs was beyond compare. I heard one of his contemporaries state that after Earl, there is nothing to learn about the banjo. And no one will ever play it the same. Earl Scruggs made the banjo cool with his distinctive three finger picking style. Perhaps best known for The Ballad of Jed Clampett, Earl Scruggs brought bluegrass music into the mainstream when he joined Lester Flatt and the Foggy Mountain Boys.
Each of these men were great musicians. But the mark of an innovator is a legacy that lives on. Shankar, Brubeck and Scruggs can all lay claim to being forces that changed music for generations.
Who knows when we will see a trio of innovators such as these again who have meant so much musically to so many people around the world.
Here are performances by each of these great artists... Earl Scruggs, Dave Brubeck and Ravi Shankar.