OBITUARIES (Click on More to view all articles): VP Records' Founder Vincent Chin Dead at 65 & Jazz Trumpeter Ruby Braff Dies at 75

VP Records founder Vincent G Chin passed away on February 2 at his home in Ft Lauderdale, FL due to natural causes. He was 65. Chin championed reggae music, starting the world’s largest independent label and distribution company for Caribbean music. At the time of his death Chin was retired; his sons Christopher and Randy run VP Records. In 1958, the Chin opened Randy's Records, a retail store, in downtown Kingston. Later he formed Studio 17, a production facility frequented by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Gregory Isaacs, among others. In 1993, they created the VP Records, which has released albums by Sean Paul, Wayne Wonder, T.O.K., Beres Hammond, Capleton, Lady Saw, Freddie McGregor and others. In 2002, VP Records and Atlantic Records formed a joint venture.

Jazz Trumpeter Ruby Braff Dies at 75

CHATHAM, Mass. (AP) — Ruby Braff, a jazz trumpeter and cornetist who rose to fame in the modern era despite an old-fashioned style, died on Sunday in Chatham, on Cape Cod. He was 75.

A cause of death was not announced but a spokesman for Arbors Records, which released much of his most recent work, told The New York Times that Braff, of Harwich, had battled lung disease for years.

In the early and mid-1950's, Braff became known not only for his tone and his lyrical approach to improvisation, but also for his devotion to a style of jazz that had fallen out of vogue. In an era when most young trumpet players were influenced by Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, Braff was a throwback to the sounds of Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke.

Reuben Braff was born in Boston on March 16, 1927. A self-taught musician, he began working locally at nightclubs and parties in the 1940s, earning a long engagement as a sideman with Edmond Hall at Boston's Savoy Cafe in 1949.

After moving to New York in 1953, Braff performed and recorded regularly with some of the era's best-known musicians. He gained a loyal following and received some admiring reviews, but in the ensuing years the popularity of more modern styles threatened to confine him to obscurity.

Braff returned to prominence in the 1960's when he toured with the Newport All Stars, a group led by promoter and pianist George Wein, who was among his biggest boosters. He also worked with singer Tony Bennett before forming a quartet with guitarist George Barnes in 1973.

Jack Mack and the Heart Attack's Jack Mack Dies

Claude Pepper, aka Jack Mack, a founding member and drummer of Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, died February 4 in his sleep at his Sacramento, CA home after a 10-plus year battle with cancer. He was 50. Pepper's wife of 22 years, Debbie, and their sons Nick and Kevin were by his side. A private memorial service was held February 8 in Sacramento.

Pepper, a native of Staten Island, NY, moved to Los Angeles in the late 70's, becoming a respected studio and touring musician who played with the Righteous Brothers, Three Dog Night, Hudson Brothers, Mac Davis and Yvonne Elliman. He left the band in 1987 to pursue other interests, moving to Sacramento in 1993.

Jack Mack and the Heart Attack are planning a concert to benefit Pepper's immediate family.

Mongo Santamaria Dead at 85

Internationally acclaimed Cuban percussionist and Latin jazz bandleader Ramon "Mongo" Santamaria died February 1 in a Miami hospital. He was 85. Santamaria was best known for his 1963 recording of Herbie Hancock's “Watermelon Man,'' which became his first Top 10 hit. Santamaria received a Grammy for Best Latin Recording in 1977.

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