The Best of Arizona: Musicians

2011-10-30T00:00:00Z The Best of Arizona: Musicians Arizona Daily Star
October 30, 2011 12:00 am

Robert McBride

The Tucson native and UA graduate composed a number of film scores including "Farewell to Yesterday" (1950), "The Man with My Face" (1951) and "Garden of Eden" (1954). He returned home and taught at the UA from 1957 to 1976. He died in 2007.

Charles Mingus Jr.

The Nogales native became an innovative jazz bassist and composer who toured with Louis Armstrong and played with the Lionel Hampton band. His 1963 work "The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady" was described by Allmusic as "one of the greatest achievements in orchestration by any composer in jazz history." He died in 1979.

Bob Nolan

A native of Canada, Nolan spent most of his childhood in Tucson, which influenced his Western music songwriting. He co-founded the legendary Sons of the Pioneers and wrote two of their most endearing hits, "Cool Water" and "Tumbling Tumbleweeds." He died in 1980.

R. Carlos Nakai

The Navajo/Ute flutist has recorded more than 35 albums and appeared with orchestras and other artists around the globe. He contributed music to films and has popularized the intersection of ethnic and jazz music with his R. Carlos Nakai Quartet. Choreographer Martha Graham turned to Nakai's second album, "Cycles," for her last work, "Night Chant."

Rainer Ptacek

He was born in East Berlin, but this guitarist called Tucson home, and major stars including Robert Plant and Billy Gibbons were influenced by his guitar technique. He co-founded the Tucson breakout band Giant Sandworms in the late 1970s. He died in 1997.

- Selected by Cathalena E. Burch

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