Pianist Boyd Lee Dunlop Dies at 87
Pianist Boyd Lee Dunlop, whose career went undocumented for almost 50 years before he was rediscovered in 2010, died on Dec. 27 at the Delaware Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Buffalo, N.Y. He was 87.
Dunlop was born in Winston Salem, N.C., in 1926, and moved to Buffalo as a child. From 1953 to 2011, his music went undocumented while he worked at Bethlehem Steel and sometimes traveled across state lines to play in juke joints. His younger brother, Frankie, a drummer, joined Thelonious Monk’s band and appears on Monk’s Dream and Criss-Cross, among others.
In 2010, the photographer Brendan Bannon met Dunlop and helped revive interest in his music. Dunlop went on to record two albums: 2011’s self-released Boyd’s Blues, which features drummer Virgil Day and bassist Sabu Adeyola, and 2013’s The Lake Reflections: Solo Piano Improvisations (Mr. B Sharp), which was inspired by Bannon’s photographs of Lake Erie.
“Despite its title, the stream-of-consciousness Lake is anything but still,” wrote Brad Farberman in a 4-star review of the album in the May 2013 issue of DownBeat.
Dunlop is survived by his brother, Frankie; his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.