Legendary drummer Eddie Marshall, recognized as one of the most influential musicians on the Bay Area jazz scene for more than 40 years, passed away Wednesday from a heart attack at the age of 73.
The well-respected and accomplished sideman performed with the likes of jazz and R&B greats including Freddie Hubbard, Jon Hendricks, Dexter Gordon, Eddie Harris, Dionne Warwick, The Pointer Sisters and Bobby Hutcherson.
Marshall took up drums as a teenager and began gigging with local acts while still in high school. He made it big when he moved to New York City in 1956, and soon joined saxophonist Charlie Mariano and pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi in various ensembles. He later nabbed a spot in Dionne Warwick’s touring band in the 60s.
He moved to San Francisco in the late 60s, becoming a staple in the Bay Area music scene. He was the house drummer for Keystone Korner in the 70s and performed in the Fourth Way jazz-fusion act. He taught at the San Francisco School of the Arts and became the first recipient of SFJAZZ’s Beacon Award, "intended to recognize those who have influenced and helped to preserve a place for jazz in the San Francisco Bay Area."
"It's a great loss for the Bay Area jazz scene," says Jason Olaine, artistic director for Yoshi's jazz club in San Francisco. "He graced our stage — both in Oakland and San Francisco — countless times. His sensitive, swinging sound will be sorely missed."