01/01/15

Guitarist Jeff Golub Dies at 59

Suffered from rare brain disorder that led to blindness and loss of functions

Jeff Golub, a guitarist who crossed seamlessly between jazz, blues and rock, died in New York Jan. 1, following a lengthy illness. He was 59. His management confirmed Golub's death in an email. The precise cause of death has not yet been reported but Golub had experienced a series of physical setbacks in recent years that ultimately caused him to no longer be able to perform. First, Golub gradually lost his eyesight in June 2011 due to the collapse of an optic nerve. The following year, he fell onto the subway tracks in New York and was dragged by a train, but was rescued by onlookers and escaped unscathed. He was later diagnosed with more serious, at first unidentified, issues later determined to be a rare and incurable brain disorder called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). Fans contributed tens of thousands of dollars toward his medical expenses via crowd-funding websites and an auction.

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Jeff Golub

Jeff Golub, who was born in Copley, Ohio, April 15, 1955, played his first gig in 1967 at age 12 and turned professional during the following decade. He studied at the Berklee College of Music and worked in singer James Montgomery’s band while in Boston. In 1980, after moving to New York, Golub joined the band of rock singer Billy Squier, with whom he toured and recorded extensively. Golub released his first solo recording, Unspoken Words, for Gaia Records in 1988.

Golub released more than a dozen albums in all as a leader and three with the Avenue Blue Band, and spent several years (1988-95) in the band of singer Rod Stewart. He also collaborated with dozens of artists as a sideman, including Ashford and Simpson, Alphonse Mouzon, Kirk Whalum, Mindi Abair, Everette Harp, Peter Wolf, John Waite, Vanessa Williams, Gato Barbieri, Bill Evans, Rick Braun, Tina Turner, Dar Williams, Brian Culbertson, Gerald Albright, Henry Butler, Jon Cleary, Marc Cohn, Richard Elliot, Robben Ford, Sonny Landreth, Jeff Lorber and Peter White. Golub was also a member of Dave Koz and the Kozmos, the house band of The Emeril Lagasse Show.

Golub’s final album, made with keyboardist Brian Auger, was Train Kept A Rolling, its title inspired by Golub’s subway incident.

A tribute concert featuring many of the artists with whom Golub collaborated will take place Jan. 21 at B.B. King's Blues Club in Manhattan.

12 Comments

  • Jan 01, 2015 at 05:12PM GregMcKee

    I was proud to call this man my good friend for over 40 years. It was a bonus that he was one of the most versatile guitarists that ever lived. I will miss his friendship and his music.

  • Jan 01, 2015 at 08:11PM salsax

    What a beautiful soul has left us.

  • Jan 02, 2015 at 12:18AM Carolyne Mas

    A great musician, and a fine human being.

  • Jan 02, 2015 at 08:30AM Bruce Jackson

    What a tragic loss. He was one of the greats.

  • Jan 02, 2015 at 01:34PM Freddy Franks

    When we were kids at Copley everybody loved him. He had the most attractive personality of anyone I have ever known.

  • Jan 02, 2015 at 03:44PM wable100

    A great musician that I always admired and respected.

  • Jan 03, 2015 at 01:20PM Peter G. Goral

    I'm still in shock, I was just listening to his music this Christmas. Had the pleasure of seeing him at the Smooth Jazz awards previously. He may be gone, but his music will live forever.

  • Jan 05, 2015 at 12:34AM David DeCarmo

    So sad to hear of this bad news. My wife and I love his music and we're fortunate to see him in concert. Will remember him every time I play his music.

  • Apr 07, 2015 at 10:29AM Billy

    Damn but we are all so fragile. I was always drawn to Jeff Golub's recordings because of their accessibility, musically. He was always so lyrical and aware of the need to reach out to his audience. No contempt for people who simply "like" the music. So sweet...so open...so sad that he is gone.

  • Apr 16, 2015 at 09:46AM GrantGreenjr

    Jeff was a wonderful musician and good friend I will miss him very much

  • Apr 16, 2015 at 09:46AM GrantGreenjr

    Jeff was a wonderful musician and good friend I will miss him very much

  • Aug 09, 2015 at 03:34AM Coffey

    Saw Jeff do a kick ass show at Catalina Island Ballroom Casino, What fun, everyone up dancing to " Manteca", and "Wanna Funk". I love to put roofing shingles on a house with his cool grooves blasting good and loud. Blessings to family

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