Guitarist Jeff Golub Dies at 59

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Suffered from rare brain disorder that led to blindness and loss of functions

By Jeff Tamarkin

Jeff Golub, a guitarist who crossed seamlessly between jazz, blues and rock, died today, Jan. 1, following a lengthy illness. He was 59. The precise cause and place of death have not yet been reported but Golub had experienced a series of physical setbacks in recent years that ultimately caused him to no longer be able to perform. First, Golub gradually lost his eyesight in June 2011 due to the collapse of an optic nerve. The following year, he fell onto the subway tracks in New York and was dragged by a train, but was rescued by onlookers and escaped unscathed. He was later diagnosed with more serious, at first unidentified, issues later determined to be a rare and incurable brain disorder called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). Fans contributed tens of thousands of dollars toward his medical expenses via crowd-funding websites and an auction.

Jeff Golub

Jeff Golub

Jeff Golub, who was born in Copley, Ohio, April 15, 1955, played his first gig in 1967 at age 12 and turned professional during the following decade. He studied at the Berklee College of Music and worked in singer James Montgomery’s band while in Boston. In 1980, after moving to New York, Golub joined the band of rock singer Billy Squier, with whom he toured and recorded extensively. Golub released his first solo recording, Unspoken Words, for Gaia Records in 1988.

Golub released more than a dozen albums in all as a leader and three with the Avenue Blue Band, and spent several years (1988-95) in the band of singer Rod Stewart. He also collaborated with dozens of artists as a sideman, including Ashford and Simpson, Alphonse Mouzon, Kirk Whalum, Mindi Abair, Everette Harp, Peter Wolf, John Waite, Vanessa Williams, Gato Barbieri, Bill Evans, Rick Braun, Tina Turner, Dar Williams, Brian Culbertson, Gerald Albright, Henry Butler, Jon Cleary, Marc Cohn, Richard Elliot, Robben Ford, Sonny Landreth, Jeff Lorber and Peter White. Golub was also a member of Dave Koz and the Kozmos, the house band of The Emeril Lagasse Show.

Golub’s final album, made with keyboardist Brian Auger, was Train Kept A Rolling, its title inspired by Golub’s subway incident.

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