American jazz musician whose popular blues and gospel-inspired sounds were later sampled by a host of rap artists
For much of his professional life, the jazz musician Les McCann was able to counter the barbs of critics by pointing to the enthusiasm with which his music was received by a large following. McCann, who has died aged 88, was an unabashed populist: he played the piano and occasionally sang in a way that made listeners feel good, particularly in the nightclubs where some of his most successful recordings were made during the 1960s.
Although he was a skilled modern jazz pianist, brought up in the bebop era, the defining characteristic of his music was a love of the blues and the gospel music he had absorbed during his childhood in the Baptist church.
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