R.I.P. New York soul singer and producer Gil Small, Jr.

(July 22, 2018) I only met Gil Small, Jr. once, but I felt like we had been friends for years. The Brooklyn born, Amityville, New York raised singer, songwriter, producer and arranger played a major role in a number of "underground" soul gems over the past two decades, providing both material and mentorship to a new generation of soul artists. And with his wife Robin, they created music just as cool as their love was. I’m sad to report tonight that Gil has died after a long battle with cancer.

Trained on classical piano by his mother, Gil gravitated to the sounds of Earth, Wind and Fire and Stevie Wonder as well as to the French horn as a principal instrument.  Under the tutelage of Everett Collins (then the drummer for the Isley Brothers), Gil developed a greater understanding of music and enrolled at the Berklee College Of Music.

(July 22, 2018) I only met Gil Small, Jr. once, but I felt like we had been friends for years. The Brooklyn born, Amityville, New York raised singer, songwriter, producer and arranger played a major role in a number of "underground" soul gems over the past two decades, providing both material and mentorship to a new generation of soul artists. And with his wife Robin, they created music just as cool as their love was. I’m sad to report tonight that Gil has died after a long battle with cancer.

Trained on classical piano by his mother, Gil gravitated to the sounds of Earth, Wind and Fire and Stevie Wonder as well as to the French horn as a principal instrument.  Under the tutelage of Everett Collins (then the drummer for the Isley Brothers), Gil developed a greater understanding of music and enrolled at the Berklee College Of Music.

Following graduation, Gil began working in music production, learning from Isley keyboardist Chris Jasper as well as other artists ranging from De La Soul to Lalah Hathaway.  He served as a "ghost producer" on several projects over the next few years before forming his own Groove City Entertainment.

Over the course of the 2000s, he worked on a number of notable independent projects, including albums by Freddie Jackson, Angela Johnson, Monet and Asaph Womack and several television and film projects. And with his Groove City Entertainment organization, he and Robin became fixtures in the NYC music scene. Their work led to the excellent Welcome 2 Groove City album in 2016.

I met Gil and Robin for the first time at the SoulTracks 10th Anniversary celebration in New York, and immediately took to the warm personality that matched his great talent.

Our deepest condolences to Robin and to the entire community in New York that loved Gil Small. This is a sad loss.

By Chris Rizik

 

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