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  1. #1
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    R&B Trailblazer James Mtume Reportedly Dead at Age 76

    From BET.com-
    Philadelphia-born percussionist James Mtume has reportedly passed away at the age of 76.

    Journalist Dyana Williams reported the news on Twitter, writing, “Warrior, husband, family, friend, musician, producer of hits for Roberta Flack, Donny Hathaway, Roy Ayers, Mary J. Blige, Teddy Pendergrass, Stephanie Mills, New York Undercover, composer, one of the most sampled in hip-hop James Mtume has transitioned.”




    At the time of the report, there is no cause of death.

    Mtume is most notable for his 1983 song, “Juicy Fruit,” which was sampled by The Notorious B.I.G. for his first official single, “Juicy” in 1994.

    An all-around musician, Mtume had a knack for infusing consciousness into his music and delving creatively into the topics of politics, culture, and art.

    “Music is a unique art form. I mean all art is special,” he said during his 2019 TedTalk. “But music is unique. It’s the only art form I know that can touch you, but you can’t touch it. What do I mean by that? I can touch a sculpture, I can touch a painting, I can touch a book of poetry. How do you touch a note? How do you touch sound? It runs through your body.”

    Mtume, who was born James Forman in 1946, grew up in a musical environment with jazz musicians frequenting his parents’ house. He learned to play piano and percussion, despite having an athletic scholarship for swimming to Pasadena City College in 1966.

    That same year, Mtume as Forman would join Hakim Jamal and Maulana Karenga’s US Organization, a Black empowerment group, and would receive his new name, Mtume, which means “messenger” in Swahili. Upon joining Davis’ band, he contributed greatly to albums such as On the Corner, Big Fun, Agharta, and Pangaea, and would appear on numerous projects with a variety of other legendary musicians, including Duke Ellington, Lonnie Liston Smith, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sonny Rollins, to name a few.

    Mtume’s transition from jazz pioneer to R&B master enabled his own group, Mtume, to set himself apart from his peers. After teaming up with the late Reggie Lucas, the duo would curate their sound throughout the ‘80s, penning such hits as Stephanie Mills’ Grammy-winning “Never Knew Love Like This Before” and Roberta Flack’s “The Closer I Get to You.”

    He is survived by his children Damu Mtume and Fa Mtume.

  2. #2
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    Lord, have mercy. I never knew that Jimmy Heath was his biological father. Rest in power.
    Last edited by sansradio; 01-09-2022 at 07:29 PM.

  3. #3
    Much respect and praise from me for his awesome work with Phyllis Hyman and Stephanie Mills, as well as many others. Rest in peace.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by sansradio View Post
    Lord, have mercy. I never knew that Jimmy Heath was his biological father. Rest in power.
    Jimmy Heath of the Heath Bros? Wow, me neither. R.I.P. Mr Mtume.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cincinnati_Kid View Post
    Jimmy Heath of the Heath Bros? Wow, me neither. R.I.P. Mr Mtume.
    Yeah, I read that one of his first sessions was as a sideman on his uncle Tootie's Kawaida album. Small world...

    https://pitchfork.com/news/james-mtu...an-dies-at-75/

  6. #6
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    He sure made some great music.
    RIP.

  7. #7
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    Stephanie has a lovely tribute on her social media

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