Colorado Springs loses longtime jazz guitarist Alan Joseph
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Jazz guitarist Alan Joseph died Wednesday from a heart attack in Colorado Springs. He was a longtime fixture in the music community. Courtesy.

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Colorado Springs lost a jazz guitar legend and virtuoso on Wednesday when Alan Joseph died from a heart attack.

He was 62. He is survived by his wife, Jana Lee Ross.

"Not only was he a great musician, but he was a great guy to hang out with," said George Preston, general manager of KCME 88.7 FM, the classical music station where Ross is music director. She's also program director for Jazz 93.5. "He was extremely generous. He mentored without setting himself up as a mentor figure. He was there for lot of musicians in the community. He was absolutely a beloved colleague of every musician who worked with him."

Originally from Detroit, Joseph moved to the Springs in the late 1970s and carved out a name for himself in the music community. He founded the guitar studio in the music program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and taught guitar as an adjunct faculty member. He also was a guitar instructor in the jazz studies department at the Lamont School of Music in Denver.

Joseph performed with well-known musicians and bands, including Bernadette Peters, Dave Valentin, Diahann Carroll, The 5th Dimension, Cheyenne Jackson and the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, and performed around the Pikes Peak region and in Denver in his own bands, such as the Alan Joseph Trio and H3O.

His 1995 CD "Heavy Water Music" was deemed No. 1 on a top ten list by KRCC 91.5 FM. Guitar Magazine wrote about his music: "Like Pat Metheny, he also has a feel for new melodies that sound familiar. We're talking ear-candy here, the kind that always finds an audience."

"He was a beloved member of the music community, a towering leader and figure, particularly with jazz and the jazz scene and improv," said Glen Whitehead, associate professor of music at UCCS and founder of the school's music program. "He really raised the bar. He was one of a few people from early on who really established a high level professional scene centered in Colorado Springs. He was a significant influence on many musicians in this region, not the least of which was his impact and influence on students in the music program. He taught scores of guitar students, many of which are professional musicians out there in the world today."

Contact the writer: 636-0270

A&E and features reporter

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