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MUSIC FAMILY HONORS JAZZ LEGEND PHIL COHRAN

7/19/2017, noon | Updated on 7/19/2017, noon
Jazz Legend Phil Cohran died at the age of 90 years old on June 28, 2017, but the musical impact ...
Phil Cohran

MUSIC FAMILY HONORS JAZZ LEGEND PHIL COHRAN

By: Christopher Shuttlesworth

Jazz Legend Phil Cohran died at the age of 90 years old on June 28, 2017, but the musical impact that he began in the neighborhood of Bronzeville and left to the world will always be remembered by his family, friends and band members.

Kelan Phil Cohran is best known for his trumpet contributions in the Sun Ra Arkestra in Chicago during 1959-1961 and for his involvement in the foundation of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), according to an Kensey & Kensey Communications press release.

Cohran formed the Artistic Heritage Ensemble with Pete Cosey, future members of the Earth, Wind and Fire horn section and “Master” Henry Gibson (the Motown house percussionist) in 1965.

He also invented an instrument he called at the time ‘the Frankiphone,’ aka the Space Harp, which was heard on some of Sun Ra’s early albums. Today the instrument is known as a electrified mbira or kalimba. Overtime,he grew to play the harp, cornet and other brass instruments.

“Cohran was multi-talented with a lot of different instruments both American and cultural instruments,” Martha Palmer, who is the sister of band-member Thomas “Tiaz” Some of Cohran’s band members included Jay Peters who played the saxophone and Thomas “Tiaz” Palmer who played the bass. Martha explained that during the 1960’s, each band

member lived at 3631 S. King Dr. Peters lived on floor 3,

Thomas and Martha lived on floor 2 and Cohran lived on floor 1.

“It made the building and the area [lively] because it was always a lot of music going on in Bronzeville,” she said. Martha continued to explain that Cohran took her brother Tiaz into the group as a young high school student.

She said no matter how much of a legend Cohran was, he always managed to reach out to musicians in the community,

visited parents and even took some musicians on the road with him.

“Not only was he a mentor but he was an educator,” she said. “He took in a lot of children, teenagers and adults and I think one of the most memorable things about him is that he was an easy going person.”

Martha added, “Cohran brought a lot of the African drummers and played over on the lakefronts, in the park districts and out on the beach fronts. So, it was a cultural and

musical revolution that brother Phil Cohran was involved in. He brought in young and old musicians who got to demonstrate their musical talent and got exposure to all

levels.”

The Palmer family has created a resolution in honor of Cohran and the legacy he left. Cohran was also honored

by the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) on July 9, 2017 at the beach on 63rd street The goal was to recreate the music Cohran inspired at the beach 50 years ago.