Remembering The Members of the North Texas Music Scene Who Died in 2013
In an effort to help memorialize just a few of the great personalities we lost in the DFW music community in 2013, we talked to friends and collaborators. This year proved especially hard, and while this isn't a complete list, all of these people made profound contributions to the unique, passionate signature of our home scene. If you have any memories of these people or any others, feel free to leave them in the comments.
ronaldshannonjackson.com Free jazz drummer and composer Ronald Shannon Jackson. Denise Moore Big Moe, on the right. Photo: Denise Moore
Big Moe from Wit's End
On first glance, gentle giant "Big Moe" London looked like someone you didn't want to tangle with..a man who could fling you into the caddy-corner alley alongside Reno's if you disturbed the peace near the corner where he towered over the entrance to Wit's End. But he was a man with many friends and no pre-conceived notions of Deep Ellum folk. He had a reputation for giving out great hugs. London was hospitalized in September following a stroke and, after weeks in ICU, permanently left his post at Main & Crowdus, just days before a planned benefit for his medical expenses at Wit's End and Reno's. The benefit went on as planned, and raised roughly twice the contributions anticipated.
ronaldshannonjackson.com Free jazz drummer and composer Ronald Shannon Jackson.
Ronald Shannon Jackson
Ft. Worth native Ronald Shannon Jackson was a bona fide creative force in free jazz, forming Decoding Society locally (after studying jazz at NYU on a scholarship) and performing on more than 20 jazz albums. "He was a pure product of Texas who took his music to the world," says musician colleague Ken Shimamoto. "From the drum line and orchestra at I.M. Terrell High School, to the honky-tonks where he stocked his father's jukeboxes, to the jazz joints where he played his first gigs, he absorbed sound from his environment."
Jackson got to play among notables like Vernon Reid (Living Colour, Black Rock Coalition), Melvin Gibbs (Rollins Band, Marc Ribot) and on Ft. Worth saxman Ornette Coleman's freewheeling Dancing In Your Head LP. "He remained creative to the end, composing music and working on his concept of rhythm in the New York hospital where he'd gone for cancer treatment," Shimamoto continues. "He died with his children at his side."
Mike Brooks At Kidd Kraddick's Memorial
Talk about leaving behind a legacy. Kraddick's sudden passing left behind more than an echo of do-good. His nationally-syndicated radio show Kidd Kraddick In The Morning soldiers on, name intact -- an unprecedented move for morning radio shows reeling from the loss of a leader -- as does the profound humanitarian efforts of the charity he helmed, Kidd's Kidds. The crew at KKITM have done Kidd (and his kids) proud, and so far have done a pretty impressive job of keeping the show's massive inertia rolling.
Derek Walker Donovan Warren of 100 Proof Hatred
Donovan Warren was well-noted in the Ft. Worth metal scene, and managed to grow a reputation as a sturdy, ferocious frontman for the band 100 Proof Hatred, despite facing his share of demons and snags with the law. "His vocals just powered through you like thunder," his friend Derek Walker tells us. "His passion both on and off the stage was truly captivating. His charm and personality would light up the room. He was one of a kind, and a true rockstar in every sense of the word."