Obituaries: Leon Rhodes Austin, Danny Davis and more

Leon Rhodes Austin, a musician and associate of the late James Brown who once styled the singer’s famous hair, has died. He was 74.

Austin died June 12, 2008, at his home in Augusta, Ga., according to C.A. Reid Memorial Funeral Home. A cause of death was not given.

Austin maintained the hair of the “Godfather of Soul’’ off and on before stage and media appearances for 20 years.

Brown died in Atlanta on Christmas Day 2006.

Austin, a professional stylist, also owned Leon’s DeSoto Club in Augusta, where his friend since third grade, Brown, sometimes played.

Austin also performed with Leon Austin and the Buicks in the 1960s, and was part of the James Brown Enterprises musical staff, doing background vocals and some musical arrangements.

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Danny Davis, a Grammy-winning band leader and record producer who blended swing music with a country style, died June 12, 2008. He was 83.

Davis, a trumpet player and singer, suffered a heart attack at home June 7, 2008, publicist Betty Hofer said.

Davis formed the Nashville Brass in 1968 after a career with big bands and as a record producer.

The group, with seven to 11 members, won a Grammy award in 1969 for best country instrumental performance for The Nashville Brass Featuring Danny Davis Play More Nashville Sounds.

The band also won the Country Music Association’s instrumental group of the year award from 1969 through 1974.

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Swedish jazz pianist Esbjorn Svensson died June 14, 2008, in a diving accident outside Stockholm, Sweden.

Svensson was 44.

His manager, Burkhard Hopper, said further details of the accident were not immediately available.

Svensson and his band, the Esbjorn Svensson Trio, became world renowned with their 2002 album Strange Place for Snow.

It won a string of jazz awards, including the Guinness Jazz in Europe Award and best international act in the BBC Jazz Awards.

In 2005, the trio became the first European jazz band to be featured on the cover of Downbeat jazz magazine in the U.S.

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Jose Bispo Clementino dos Santos, the celebrated samba singer known as Jamelao who was a pillar of Rio’s most traditional samba school, died June 14, 2008, a spokeswoman said. He was 95.

He died in a Rio de Janeiro hospital, three days after being admitted.

The exact cause of death was unclear, Mangueira samba school spokeswoman Marcia Rosario said.

With his smooth, melodic voice, Jamelao was the lead singer for countless Mangueira Carnival parades from the 1950s onward.

Jamelao recorded more than 20 records.

Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1913, Jamelao began performing at an early age in the percussion section of Mangueira. He moved on to play the cavaquinho — a small, four-stringed guitar central to traditional sambas — and quickly became a singer.

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