(ORANGE, CA)—Robert Auerbach, founder/CEO of HighJohn Records, LLC is saddened to announce that Floyd Dixon, the blues pianist generally credited with starting the jump blues scene on the West coast, has died of cancer at age 77 in Orange, CA at Chapman Hospital. Born in Marshall, TX on February 8, 1929, Floyd toured extensively with the likes of Ray Charles, Ruth Brown and Charles Brown in the late 40s and early 50s. He scored a series of hit records in the 50s with “Telephone Blues”, “Call Operator 210” and “Hey Bartender”, the latter enjoying wide exposure with the release of the 1980 hit film, “The Blues Brothers.”
In recent years, Floyd enjoyed a career resurgence that began with his winning the prestigious W.C. Handy Award for Comeback Album Of The Year in 1997 for Wake Up And Live. He was “re-discovered” by Robert Auerbach, founder/CEO of HighJohn Records, LLC, who signed him to the label to cut his 2005 disc, Fine! Fine! Thing! The album put Floyd back in the spotlight, gaining him front covers of Living Blues and Southland Blues Magazine. He had been performing around the country in 2006 and was scheduled to open the Long Beach Blues Festival during Labor Day weekend. He’d just recorded concerts in Phoenix (6/1&2) with fellow piano legends Pinetop Perkins and Henry Gray for a CD/DVD set entitled Floyd Dixon’s Desert Piano Summit, which will be released later this year by HighJohn.
“We join with Floyd’s family and his many fans around the world in mourning and celebrating a man who made giving his life’s mission. His generosity of spirit cannot be overstated and we feel fortunate to have had the privilege of knowing and working with him,” said Auerbach.
A public memorial service will be held at Grace Chapel on the grounds of Inglewood Cemetery (720 E. Florence Ave.) on Monday, July 31 from 1-3 PM.
Read LA Times Article:
Floyd Dixon, 77; Blues Singer, Pianist Influenced Ray Charles (By Geoff Boucher Times Staff Writer July 28 2006)