Tuesday, October 19, 2010

T Lavitz Passes Away

We’re saddened to follow the news of Solomon Burke’s passing with word that keyboardist T. Lavitz passed away unexpectedly, in his sleep on the evening of October 7th. Lavitz first gained notoriety in 1978, when the then-University of Miami student was tapped to replace Mark Parrish in Southern rock band Dixie Dregs. The Dregs went on to release three albums with Lavitz before breaking up in 1983.

Over the 27 years that followed Lavitz’s original tenure in the Dixie Dregs, the versatile keyboardist put out seven solo albums and performed with dozens of musicians with ties in the jam scene in a number of different projects. After Brent Mydland passed away in 1990, T. was on the short list to fill Mydland’s seat, but the job ultimately went to Vince Welnick. In 1991, Lavitz lent his talents to Widespread Panic for the band’s self-titled Capricorn debut. His work impressed the band enough that they asked the keyboardist to join them as a touring member, though his tenure lasted only a year. [see our B List: 10 Band Members With Short Tenures]

T. Lavitz might be best known to much of our readership for his work with instrumental Grateful Dead cover band Jazz is Dead. Along with Jimmy Herring, Alphonso Johnson and Billy Cobham, the band completely reworked some of the Dead’s best songs with amazing results. Jazz is Dead wasn’t your typical cover band and the three albums they put out are all highly recommended.

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