Musicians Share Thoughts On The Late Great Col. Bruce Hampton

By Scott Bernstein May 2, 2017 2:42 pm PDT

Remembrances of jam scene icon Col. Bruce Hampton have come pouring in following his death on Monday night after he collapsed at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. Bruce died at the end of one of the greatest nights of his life surrounded by those who loved him. Keyboardist Chuck Leavell was among those who performed at Hampton 70: A Celebration Of Col. Bruce Hampton and shared a sentiment with CNN that Hampton’s death was “a poetic exit” adding, “And I’m sure if he had written the script himself, that would’ve been the last page of the last chapter.”

Hampton touched the lives of so many people – from musicians, to fans, to industry vets, to friends and family members and all in between. The Colonel was extremely accessible, so it is no surprise there have been a bevy of heart-warming stories shared and tears shed in the wake of what still seems so tragically surreal.

“So so sad to say goodbye to the great & wondrous Col. Bruce Hampton. The music world lost one of a kind last night, a true original, a man who heard the light! God speed Col. Bruce, we miss you,” Chris Robinson said in a statement to CNN. Oliver Wood, the first guest to perform last night, told CNN, “Just by example, he taught us to challenge our ideas about music and what it’s for. Bruce was equal parts prankster and mystic. He was serious about music, but also taught us not to take ourselves too seriously. He was a one of a kind human. What an honor to be with him on his final night.”

Meanwhile Karl Denson, who was also on hand last night, called Hampton “The poet of some undefined movement that all the artists came to for wisdom and clarity.” His statement to CNN also mentioned, “Once you connected with him, you felt inspired not to be jive, to know what was important and take chances. Most of all, he made us supremely happy.”

Fourteen-year-old guitarist Brandon “Taz” Niederauer was among Hampton’s last proteges. Another cosmic occurrence last night was that the Col.’s final gesture was getting a group of talented veterans to give Taz a chance to solo. Taz witnessed his teacher’s passing and it’s difficult to imagine what the youngster is feeling right now. Journalist Jarrett Bellini penned an open letter to Niederauer that we hope Brandon reads and that it brings him some solace:

Longtime Col. Bruce collaborator and one-time Aquarium Rescue Unit member Rev. Jeff Mosier tried to find the beauty in the way Hampton went out in this incredibly heartfelt video he posted on Facebook shortly after word of Col. Bruce’s passing was confirmed:

Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi’s love for Hampton was on display Monday night. The pair are also taking comfort in the way Col. Bruce went out as their statement includes, “We can only take solace in the fact that he was truly surrounded by loving friends and family, honoring his contribution to music and art when he passed. It was a dramatic and poetic ending to a life of a man whose entire way of living was an art form.”

We’ve compiled additional tributes to Col. Bruce Hampton:
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