Drummer Steve Bagby Dies at 66
University of Miami drum-set instructor Stephen Bagby died from cancer on June 27 at a Fort Lauderdale hospice. The 66-year-old had served on the faculty at UM for 30 years and performed and recorded with such jazz greats as Stan Getz, Wayne Shorter, Sonny Stitt and Chet Baker. Bagby also once performed with saxophonist John Coltrane in Chicago, sitting in for the regular drummer Elvin Jones.
Bagby was born in St. Louis and grew up in the Chicago suburbs, then toured extensively with the Red Rodney-Ira Sullivan Quintet before moving to Miami in the 1960s. He played numerous regular gigs in southern Florida, including those at two now-defunct venues, Bubba’s in Fort Lauderdale and the Rancher Motel Lounge in Miami. Bagby frequently played with Sullivan, whom he knew from his teenage years back in Chicago.
Bagby joined the UM faculty in the mid-1970s, and also led the house band for WLRN’s Flamingo Jazz Series at Hialeah Race Track in the 1980s. UM alum Rob Schuh said of his former teacher, “He always was the consummate artist. He never sold out, never cared about being famous or having endorsements.”
Bagby lived in Coral Gables. He is survived by his son Guy Logan, 35, a Los Angeles television producer, brother Benjamin Bagby of Paris, and sisters Barbara Davenport of Seattle and Emily Bagby of Rogers, Ark.