Kenny Rankin died on June 7, 2009 of lung cancer, just three weeks after his diagnoses. He was just 69.
“In a remarkable recording career that spans three and a half decades, Kenny Rankin has established an impressive set of creative credentials, as an insightful songwriter, a distinctive guitarist and, above all, a world-class singer possessing an uncanny ability to cut straight to a song's emotional heart.”
From the Los Angeles Times obit: "In a review of a 2000 Rankin performance at a San Fernando Valley jazz club, critic Don Heckman wrote in the Los Angeles Times: "Rankin has been -- for a decade or more -- a singer whose unusual improvisational skills and innate capacity to deliver a melody with a strong sense of swing stamp him as a consistently appealing jazz artist."
I discovered "The Kenny Rankin Album" in the 1970s. I remember sitting in front of my stereo in the living room of my Seattle apartment enraptured with his pure tenor voice singing songs like “While my Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Groovin’” and "When Sonny Gets Blue."
A few years ago, I went to hear him play at a Los Angeles nightclub. He sat on a simple wooden chair under a baby spot, mesmerizing the audience with music and stories about his life. I’m not musical, so the loss of artists like Kenny Rankin seems beyond tragic.
I feel the same way about these artists.
Who are your favorite musicians who died too soon?