(born February 20, 1944 in New York, NY;
(Lew Soloff & Arnaldo DeSouteiro, New York, 1987)
Shocked and devastaded with the news about Lew Soloff's passing. He was having dinner with his daugher Laura and her family. As they were walking home, he had a heart attack on the sidewalk.
He is one of my trumpet heroes (along with Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis and Randy Brecker). Lew was a dear friend, with whom I had the honor to work in recordings and concerts; the first time was in 1987, in New York, during the sessions for Yana Purim's "Harvest Time" album with Herbie Hancock and two fellow members of the Manhattan Jazz Quintet: David Matthews and George Young.
It was a dream come true when Lew accepted the invitation to take part of the album. He had arrived that same day from Japan with MJQ but went to Deodato's Duplex Sound Studio and recorded in a couple of tunes, doing an absolutely superb performance specially on a very special arrangement (by another genius, Hugo Fattoruso) of Luiz Bonfa's "The Gentle Rain". In 7/4!!!! I was so dazzled and mesmerized by his solo that I couldn't speak. Then, Lew said to me: "You know I'm tired, with jetlag, so if you don't like what I played today, just call me tomorrow and I'll be back to re-record everything!" Of course it wasn't necessary, he had played brilliantly.
Some months later, he, his wife at that time (harpist Emily Mitchell) and "Little Laura" stayed for a week in my place in my native Rio when he went there to play with Gil Evans. I can't believe he's gone now, but he will be in my heart forever. I collect all albums recorded by Lew as a leader (most of them for Japanese labels) and as a sideman, including LaserDiscs and DVDs with both the Manhattan Jazz Quintet and the Manhattan Jazz Orchestra, as well as with Frank Sinatra (the fabulous LD "Portrait Of An Album," that documents the "LA Is My Lady" recording sessions produced by Quincy Jones, on which he was featured on "How Do You Keep The Music Playing?"), the supergroups Blood Sweat & Tears (many DVDs from the Musikladen programs for German TV) and Average White Band, The Gil Evans Orchestra (when Gil was still alive as well as on the final concert with Miles Davis at Montreux, with Quincy conducting the band), and also honoring Charles Mingus on "Epitaph."
Several times he was "elected" by me as "best trumpeter of the year" in the annual Jazz Station Awards. Every time I traveled to NY, I used to call him immediately to know where he was playing. So I was blessed with the chance to attend countless concerts and gigs he did with Gil Evans as well as, in later years, with three other dears friends -- Mark Egan, Ronnie Cuber and the late Joe Beck -- and many others. My condolences to all his family. Rest in Peace, Lew.
His daugher Laura Solomon posted on Facebook:
Soloff also worked for over three decades with The Gil Evans Orchestra. He played with everyone who's someone; from George Benson to Barbra Streisand, from Tony Scott to Stanley Clarke, from Bob James to Marianne Faithful, from Frank Sinatra to Blood Sweat & Tears, from Quincy Jones to Ted Rosenthal, from Jim Hall to Toots Thielemans, from Buddy Rich to Joss Stone. Plus such pop/soul/rock stars as Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Eric Clapton, Michael Franks, Burt Bacharach, James Brown, Sting, the groups Average White Band and Steely Dan, latin legends Mongo Santamaria and Tito Puente, Brazilian singers Yana Purim and Tania Maria, the Thad Jones & Mel Lewis Orchestra and countless others.