Ann Rabson Dies, Blues Musician Mourned

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By Emma Koonse, Christian Post Reporter
January 31, 2013|10:33 am

Ann Rabson, pianist and vocalist, died at age 67 on Wednesday.

The co-founder of the trio Saffire-The Uppity Blues Women passed away in Fredericksburg, Va. after battling cancer, her label said.

"It's with a heavy heart we announce the passing of Ann Rabson, founding member of Saffire- The Uppity Blues Women," Alligator Records posted to Twitter on Wednesday.

Other reports indicate that Rabson died at her home in Hartwood, Virginia, in Stafford County, according to the Washington Post.

Born April 12, 1945 in New York City, Rabson began singing and playing the blues in 1962.

Rabson was a barrelhouse blues pianist in addition to a songwriter and guitarist. The singer was best known for her work with Saffire, where she recorded eight albums. She also recorded one solo album for Alligator Records, and two others with different labels.

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Saffire-The Uppity Blues Women was comprised on Rabson, her guitar student Gaye Adegbalola, and Andra Faye McIntosh. They disbanded in 2009 after 25 years together.

Rabson was an 8-time nominee for the Blues Music Award as Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year.

Singer Vance Gilbert offered a tribute to Rabson via The Patriot Ledger.

"As Black musicians, many of us narrow our eyes are white practitioners of the most sacred of the original American musical art forms- jazz and blues … as a listener, I am steely in my examination of 'great white players' of these genres," started the Boston singer-songwriter of Rabson.

"You have to rock the house, be utterly consummate, genuflectional, in every word, phrase, passage, note, and bar you play to the originators of the art form … The best white players of these musics will agree with me hands down," Gilbert continued.

Gilbert then added: "That said, here's a list for you, in no particular order ... of White artists that soothed my history-rubbed-raw soul, and made me think that there was indeed a God that was struggling to make equals of all of us people even with the differences they brought to what they did," before the musician listed Ann Rabson among his favorite white artists.

"And now, heartbreak at the end of the day," Gilbert concluded. "Ann was consummate, elegant, and perfect at what she did."

Many Blues fans and Rabson's admirers are mourning her death on Twitter Thursday.

"We say a sad Farewell to Blues Legend Ann Rabson of Saffire- Uppity Blues Women," wrote Andrea.

Carl posted, "Not everyone is a superstar, but Ann Rabson- who past away on Jan 30- was terrific."

 

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