Ronald Muldrow, a guitarist who had been a fixture on the Los Angeles jazz scene for more than three decades, has died. He was 57.
Muldrow was found dead Jan. 31 in his Los Angeles home, said his son, Stephen Muldrow. The cause of death is being determined.
As an emerging jazz guitarist in the early 1970s, Muldrow connected with soul-jazz saxophonist Eddie Harris and was best known for his work with him, according to the website All About Jazz.
“Eddie was my musical father,” Muldrow told The Times in 1998. “He taught me to make it in music.”
He recorded with Harris on such classic albums as “That Is Why You’re Overweight” (1969) and “Listen Here” (1982).
A teenage Muldrow heard jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery play “Canadian Sunset” on the radio and was captivated.
As he developed, Muldrow absorbed Montgomery’s artistry by creating melodic solos with “a full, glowing sound and a driving rhythmic feel,” Zan Stewart wrote in The Times in 1998.
“Facing Wes,” the fourth of his seven CDs, saluted Montgomery and other jazz musicians “with as much finesse as affection,” according to a 1996 Washington Post review.
After more than 20 years with Harris, Muldrow toured with his own band and regularly performed locally with his jazz quartet.
A Chicago native, Muldrow was born Feb. 2, 1949, and began forming bands in high school. He earned a bachelor’s in jazz studies from Roosevelt University in Illinois and a master’s in studio and jazz guitar from USC.
His first big-time gig was with the Staple Singers, a gospel group.
He also taught at various colleges and had published guitar-instruction books.
Although he once made his living performing funk, jazz was his passion.
“Jazz keeps you younger. There’s always something to learn,” Muldrow said in 1998. “It’s bigger than you.”
In addition to his son, Muldrow is survived by two daughters, Georgia and Johari, of Los Angeles; a brother, Ken, of Chicago; and a grandchild.
A memorial service will be held at noon today at the World Stage in Leimert Park, 4344 Degnan Blvd.