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Best known for his stint with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, bassist Charles Fambrough led three very effective all-star dates for CTI that were filled with his stimulating originals. He originally studied classical piano but switched to bass when he was 13. In 1968, Fambrough began playing with local pit bands for musicals and after some freelancing in 1970, he joined Grover Washington, Jr.'s band, staying with the popular saxophonist up until 1974. Fambrough was with Airto (1975-1977), McCoy Tyner (1978-1980), and then Art Blakey (1980-1982). After that time, he freelanced in many different situations. Fambrough's sidemen on his CTI recordings included Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Kenny Kirkland, Jerry Gonzalez, Steve Turre, Donald Harrison, Kenny Garrett, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Grover Washington, Jr. Charles Fambrough died at the age of 60 of a heart attack at his home in Allentown, PA on January 1, 2011; he had reportedly been suffering from a number of serious ailments including end-stage renal disease and congestive heart failure, and benefit concerts had been held over the preceding several years in the Philadelphia area to help the bassist and his family defray the costs of his mounting medical bills.