R.I.P. venerable keyboardist and producer "Sir" Dean Gant

Photo courtesy of Dean Gant Facebook Page

(April 26, 2020) We are sad to inform SoulTracks readers of the passing this weekend of venerable keyboardist/producer/songwriter Dean Gant, aka Sir Gant. The Chicago native, who studied classical and jazz piano at the city’s American Conservatory of Music, began showing up on R&B albums in the 1970s. During this time, he composed and played for the likes of Stargard, Linda Clifford, and The Invisible Man’s Band—to name just a very few. The latter was a continuation of family group The Five Stairsteps, consisting of the Burke brothers, who scored a top-10 R&B hit with “All Night Thing,” co-penned by Gant.

(April 26, 2020) We are sad to inform SoulTracks readers of the passing this weekend of venerable keyboardist/producer/songwriter Dean Gant, aka Sir Gant. The Chicago native, who studied classical and jazz piano at the city’s American Conservatory of Music, began showing up on R&B albums in the 1970s. During this time, he composed and played for the likes of Stargard, Linda Clifford, and The Invisible Man’s Band—to name just a very few. The latter was a continuation of family group The Five Stairsteps, consisting of the Burke brothers, who scored a top-10 R&B hit with “All Night Thing,” co-penned by Gant.

Throughout the ‘80s, he continued to up his resume with session work for the Spinners, Stephanie Mills, Larry Graham, The Jones Girls, Madonna (on her self-titled debut LP), and Keni Burke—on his breakthrough solo classic, “Risin’ to the Top.” In the ‘90s, he remained prolific, expanding his scope with remixes of hits such as TLC’s “Waterfalls” and Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack,” as well as production for The Whispers and Melba Moore.

In more recent years, Gant independently released the smooth jazz-oriented album The Journey, recorded at his Los Angeles-based studio. His sophisticated playing style and keen ear for engaging song structure and production will no doubt live on through the hundreds of songs on which he contributed his distinctive talents. Our thoughts go out to his family and loved ones.

by Justin Kantor

 
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