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Uriel Jones

Drummer for Motown

Uriel Jones, 74, a drummer whose versatile, passionate beat fueled classic Motown hits by the Temptations, the Four Tops and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, died Tuesday at a Detroit-area hospital after complications from a heart attack in February.


Jones was part of the Funk Brothers, the house band on Motown recordings that was the focus of an acclaimed 2002 documentary called “Standing in the Shadows of Motown.” That film brought the players in the wider world that had largely escaped them during Motown’s 1960s heyday.

Motown seldom listed musician credits on albums, but among the songs that featured Jones on drums were “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Diana Ross, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye, “I Second That Emotion” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, “For Once in My Life” by Stevie Wonder and “I Can’t Get Next to You” by the Temptations.

Paul Riser, a Motown arranger-musician, said Jones had a distinctive, driving sound that drew inspiration from his days as a boxer. Yet, Riser said, Jones could also play with restraint when the song called for it.

“There was a pulse in his playing . . . that nobody else had,” Riser said. “He loved music for the sake of music. He loved when it came out good, and he hated when it came out bad.”

A native of Detroit, Jones joined Motown in 1964 and toured with Gaye in addition to playing on studio recordings.

Jeremy R. Azrael


Rand expert on Soviet economy

Jeremy R. Azrael, 73, a leading expert on the Soviet economy and longtime political scientist at Rand Corp., died March 19 at his home in Sherman Oaks, the Santa Monica-based think tank reported. He had been battling lymphoma.

Azrael was best known for establishing and leading a semiannual economic forum after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The meetings, held in New York and Moscow, brought together leading Russian, European and American executives and political leaders.

“His knowledge of Russia was profound,” said Arnold Horelick, founding director of the Rand Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. “He witnessed many of the great events that have marked the history and politics of Russia since 1991, and knew many of the participants.”

A native of Baltimore, Azrael earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and doctorate in government from Harvard University. He taught political science at the University of Chicago from 1961 to 1980 and served there as chairman of Slavic area studies.

He also worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for a few years before rejoining Rand in 1985. At the think tank, where he had worked in the mid-1970s, he served as director of the Rand Center for Russia and Eurasia starting in 1993 and the Rand/Russia Initiative beginning in 1991. He was a professor at the Pardee Rand Graduate School from 1985 to 1990.


Since 1996, he had been executive director of the Rand Business Leaders Forum.

Bob Arbogast

Comedy writer, radio personality

Bob Arbogast, 81, a comedy writer and radio personality for several Los Angeles stations in the 1960s, died Saturday of cancer at St. Agnes Medical Center in Fresno, according to his family.

Arbogast, who was residing in Mariposa, Calif., was the father of longtime USC football announcer Pete Arbogast. Born in Bellingham, Wash., on April 1, 1927, he attended Marshall High School in Los Angeles and served in the Navy at the end of World War II. After his discharge, he attended L.A. City College and the University of Arizona and did some radio work in Tucson. He worked in the Kansas City market before making his mark at WMAQ-AM in Chicago for several years in the early 1950s.

He came to Los Angeles in the early 1960s after working at KSFO-AM and KFRC-AM in San Francisco. From 1962 to 1967, he worked at KMPC-AM, where he wrote for star disc jockeys Dick Whittinghill and Gary Owens. He moved to KLAC-AM in 1967 and partnered on the air with Jack Margolis to create a highly rated show. They took their radio act to television for a time on what was then KTTV Channel 11. On his own, Arbogast was later on KFI-AM and KGBS-AM.

After leaving radio, he worked as a voice-over actor and was probably best known for his work on the “Roger Ramjet” cartoon series.


-- times staff and wire reports