Collaborators, Fans React to Aretha Franklin’s Death

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Following Aretha Franklin’s death on Thursday, an outpouring of emotion and appreciation for her work washed over social media channels. Here are a few selections, followed by excerpts from interviews with a pair of musicians who had the chance to work with the singer.

“She knew every piece of music that was going on around her. But what really touched my heart was that you could feel her spirit. She spoke like she sang, so you could feel the emotion flowing from her. It was all natural. That’s what was so amazing about her vocals. Some people are good live and not in the studio, and some people are good in the studio and not live. Aretha Franklin was the whole package.” —Joan Collaso, a Chicago-based vocalist, who sang backup with Franklin on her final tour

“She was very kind to me. In this business, most singers are not that sensitive or personal toward their band members. In playing with her, her piano playing was very touching and special.” —Chuck Rainey, a bassist who played on several Franklin albums, including Young, Gifted And Black (1972), Amazing Grace (1972) and With Everything I Feel in Me (1974) DB



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    Sanborn’s highly stylized playing and searing signature sound — frequently ornamented with thrill-inducing split-tones and bluesy bent notes — influenced generations of jazz and blues saxophonists.

  • DonWas_A1100547_byMyriamSantos_copy.jpg

    “Being president of Blue Note has been one of the coolest things that ever happened to me,” Was said. “It’s a gas to serve as one of the caretakers of that legacy.”

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    ​The Century Room in downtown Tucson, Arizona, was born in 2021.

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    “It’s not like Bach, where you had better play the notes correctly,” Fleck says. “In the case of Rhapsody, it had been done so many ways and with the blessing of [Gershwin].”


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