Saxophonist Andrew Love, one-half of the renowned Memphis Horns, has died. The 70-year-old musician passed away at his home on Thursday night, from complications of Alzheimer's disease.
Love and his longtime partner, trumpeter Wayne Jackson, made their early reputation as part of the team of players at Stax Records in the 1960s before branching out out on their own, working with local recording institutions like Hi Records and American Studios, and eventually becoming the most in-demand horn section in the world. The pair would provide memorable parts for hit records by Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, James Taylor, and U2, among others. In total, the duo played on 83 gold and platinum albums and 52 No. 1 records during the course of their career.
Diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2002 -- Love's family went public with his condition earlier this year -- the musician's final days were peaceful. "He was still up and somewhat alert. He was responding and responsive up until the very end," said his wife of 43 years, Willie Love. "His decline was very brief."
In February, the Memphis Horns were recognized by the Grammys with a Lifetime Achievement Award during ceremonies in Los Angeles. Due to his health, Love was unable to attend. But just two weeks ago, Jackson and his wife, Amy, paid a visit to Love, taking photos and posing with their new trophies.
In a statement, Jackson recalled the pair's tight bond and enduring friendship. "He was the best man I knew. He was a great husband and father," said Jackson. "He was a fabulous musician, and he left behind for us a wealth of (music) so we can continue to be amazed by him. I will miss him."
For Andrew Love, music began at Mt. Nebo Baptist Church, where his father, Roy, was the pastor for more than 50 years. He continued his musical education at Booker T. Washington High School and Langston University in Oklahoma, before returning to Memphis and joining the Stax house band in 1965. At Stax, Love's and Jackson's signature horn sounds and arrangements -- for the likes of Otis Redding, Sam & Dave and others -- help fuel the label's golden era.
The tall, laid-back Love and the diminutive, fiery Jackson were a study in opposites, but their musical connection was instant, birthing a deep professional and personal partnership that lasted until the end. "I always call Wayne 'the other half','" said Willie Love during an interview with The Commercial Appeal in February. "I may be the better half, but he's the other half. Andrew and Wayne just complemented each other so well."
Although Stax wanted the duo to work exclusively for the label, in 1969 Jackson and Love incorporated as The Memphis Horns, and went freelance. For the next 30 years they would become the pre-eminent set of horns in popular music. Their familiar brass sounds would help define classic records like Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds," Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" and Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man."
They were in high demand on the road as well, touring with the Doobie Brothers, Jimmy Buffett and Robert Cray, among others. As the '80s and '90s rolled on, they continued to color hits for music stars such as Willie Nelson and Steve Winwood. Even after Jackson decided to relocate to Nashville in 1996, they remained in demand -- recording with Sting, Bonnie Raitt and Marc Knopfler.
Following his Alzheimer's diagnosis in 2002, Love continued working briefly before retiring from performing the following year. Love's condition worsened and four years ago his wife Willie elected to quit her job as an accountant to care for him full time.
In addition to his wife, Love is survived by his brother, Roy Love, and children, Vincent Thompson, Terri Lawrence, Angela Parker and Andre Love.
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Services for Andrew Love
A memorial service for Love will be April 20 at 5 p.m. at Mt. Nebo Baptist Church, 555 Vance. His funeral will also take place at Mt. Nebo on April 21 at 11 a.m. Joe Ford Funeral Home has charge.