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Reverend Keith A. Gordon

Blues Legend Calvin "Fuzz" Jones, R.I.P.

By August 11, 2010

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Muddy Waters Tribute BandFrom our friend and mighty blues harpist Bob Corritore (via blues guitarist Bob Margolin) comes the news of the death of legendary blues bassist Calvin "Fuzz" Jones due to complications from lung cancer. Although Jones had successfully fought cancer during the late 1990s, it had reoccurred, and after he developed pneumonia, he was rushed to the hospital in Southhaven, Mississippi where he passed away from a heart attack on Monday, August 9, 2010. He was 84 years old.

A Mississippi native and long-time fixture on the Chicago blues scene, Jones was best-known as bassist for the Muddy Waters Band during the blues legend's phenomenal runs during the decade of the 1970s. Jones provided his fluid bass lines to such Waters' albums as They Call Me Muddy Waters and I'm Ready, and through the years Jones also recorded with talents like Pinetop Perkins, James Cotton, and Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson. Previous to his tenure with Waters, Jones had worked with Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, and Elmore James.

In 1980, Jones joined a group of Waters band alumni who formed the Legendary Blues Band, which featured pianist Perkins, drummer Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, harpist Jerry Portnoy, and guitarist Louis Myers. The Legendary Blues Band recorded seven albums between 1981 and 1993, beginning with the critically-acclaimed Life of Ease for Rounder Records. During the mid-1990s, Jones was a member of the Muddy Waters Tribute Band with guitarist Bob Margolin, and his former Legendary Blues Band mates Perkins, Smith, Johnson, and Portnoy. This outfit released a single album, You Gonna Miss Me (When I'm Dead & Gone), in 1997.

In an email sent out to the industry, Margolin remembers his friend and former bandmate. "He was 84 years old, and was enjoying his life as much as possible until very recently. He had a sincere good word for everyone, and his reaction to any kind of health, musical, or financial challenge was his hearty trademark laugh. I asked him how he could laugh so easily when life hurt him, and he said 'When you laugh the world laughs with you, when you cry, you cry alone.' He brought us deep Chicago and Mississippi Blues on the bandstand and on recordings, and his Blues and love for his friends, family, and all of us are his legacy."

Photo courtesy Telarc Records

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August 11, 2010 at 11:35 am
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