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Blues Legend James Cotton Has Died

At 81 years old in Austin, Texas, famous blues musician James Cotton has died. He was considered “one of the foremost blues harmonica players of the 20th century.” He was being treated at St. David’s Medical Center.

As NPR reports:

The Grammy Award-winning Cotton was born July 1, 1935, on a Mississippi cotton plantation and began playing the harmonica at age 9. As a teenager, he was mentored by Sonny Boy Williamson II, toured with Howlin’ Wolf and recorded sessions at the legendary Sun Records studio. Starting at the age of 20, Cotton spent 12 years on the road with Muddy Waters and was featured on Waters’ records At Newport 1960.

Cotton formed The James Cotton Band in 1966, eventually drawing him into the orbit of the new era through collaborations with, among many others, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin.

His status cemented, Cotton’s accolades began to pile up — a Grammy in 1996 for his album Deep In the Blues, a 2010 all-star tribute concert at New York’s Lincoln Center, and the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal’s 2015 B.B. King award.

Cotton is survived by his wife Jacklyn Hairston Cotton, daughters Teresa Hampton and Marshall Ann Cotton, and son James Patrick Cotton… Along with many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

This a tragic loss for music fans.

Let us pray for Cotton’s family during this difficult time. Rest in peace.