September 7, 2006

Veteran Smooth Jazz Group Loses Founding Member

Saxophonist Hollis Gentry dies two years after car accident.

HollisGentry_bw.jpgSaxophonist Hollis Gentry, who helped found the San Diego-based Smooth Jazz group Fattburger more than 20 years ago, has died at age 51. It was two years ago that Gentry was involved in a serious automobile accident in San Diego. He had been through rehabilitation, but entered a hospice a few weeks ago after his health began to worsen. He died on Tuesday, Sept. 5, at his home.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in music composition and a master’s in music technology, Gentry and childhood friend and keyboardist Carl Evans Jr. founded Fattburger, which garnered a huge local following in San Diego and eventually became well-known in the U.S. and overseas, especially in Japan. In addition, Gentry was a teacher who counted Kirk Whalum among his students, and he also toured with such superstars as Al Jarreau, Larry Carlton and Joe Sample.

Evans recalls that a benefit concert for Gentry – held after his 2004 accident and featuring Fattburger and Hollis’ childhood friend Nathan East – meant a lot to the saxophonist:

"He was really pleased to see some footage on the news about the benefit concert for him," Evans said. "And he was just really touched. Just really surprised and really overwhelmed. "

Funeral services will be held Sept. 15 in San Diego.

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Posted by Brian Soergel at September 7, 2006 7:26 PM