Jeff Golub, 59, Smooth Jazz Guitarist, Is Dead
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Jeff Golub, a guitarist who worked with rock stars like Rod Stewart and Billy Squier and for the last two decades had a successful genre-crossing solo career, died on Jan. 1 at his home in Manhattan. He was 59.
The cause was complications of progressive supranuclear palsy, a rare brain disorder for which there is no known cure, said his wife, Audrey Stafford Golub. Mr. Golub lost his eyesight in 2011 but continued to perform and record until 2013, when his condition left him unable to play.
Mr. Golub was for many years a fixture on the smooth jazz charts and was most closely associated with that often critically maligned genre, which puts as much emphasis on steady, relaxed grooves as it does on improvisation. But his playing, which incorporated jazz, rock, blues and even country influences, resisted categorization.
“There’s only two kinds of music,” he once said, “the kind that’s from the heart and the kind that’s not.”
Born in Akron, Ohio, on April 15, 1955, and raised in nearby Copley, Mr. Golub decided to become a guitar player at age 8, when his father took him to see the Grand Ole Opry. He attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston for a year before leaving to study privately with the jazz guitarist Mick Goodrick.
Mr. Golub toured and recorded extensively with Mr. Squier before forming his own band, Low Profile. In 1988 — the same year he released his first album, “Unspoken Words” — he joined Mr. Stewart’s group, with which he remained until shortly after forming another band, Avenue Blue, in 1994. He also performed and recorded extensively as a sideman in those years, with the singers Tina Turner and Vanessa Williams, the saxophonist Gato Barbieri and many others.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Chris and Matthew; his mother, Pearl Golub; a brother, Pete; and a sister, Patti Hippler.
Mr. Golub recorded about a dozen albums as a leader for various labels, the most recent of which emphasized the bluesier aspects of his playing. His last album, a collaboration with the keyboardist Brian Auger, was recorded not long after Mr. Golub narrowly survived a fall onto the tracks at a New York subway station in 2012. The title of the record was “Train Keeps a Rolling.”