Final Cadence: Spring 2020

April 28, 2020

Remembering those who have left our community. 

Professor Jeff Ramsey

Ansel Evan Clayburn B.M. ’08 of Oakland, CA, died May 28, 2019, from colon cancer. He was 35. A polymath and synesthete who played several instruments and accompanied them with his incredible vocals, Clayburn composed, performed, and produced six albums. The songs “Serene” and “Sweep” from his final album, Everything Ephemeral, spoke to the isolation of having cancer and the loveliness of life. He leaves his sister, parents, and the many people who loved him.

Peter Downey ’84 of Maynard, MA, died November 21. He was 59. A sound and lighting engineer, he traveled the world with Sonny Rollins, Harry Connick Jr., and other artists. He leaves his daughter, Frances; parents, Martin and Mary Lou; and siblings.

David P. Smith ’75 of Bethlehem, PA, died December 26. He was 69. He was a well-known musician in the Lehigh Valley, and a music teacher at Hawk Music Store in Bethlehem. He leaves his father, William; daughter, Shannon; his grandson, Ayden; and siblings.  

Dean Mochizuki B.M. ’78 of Tacoma, WA, died January 24. He was 64. A talented saxophonist, he played for years in many Seattle-area bands. He leaves his wife, Robin; his mother, Betty; and his sister.

Professor Bob Gullotti died January 25. He was 70. A lifelong resident of Waltham, MA, Gullotti earned a bachelor’s degree from Berklee in 1972. He was a respected percussionist who taught private instruction at Berklee since 2010. He performed with jazz notables, including J.J. Johnson, John Abercrombie, George Mraz, and others. Gullotti played on more than 60 recordings, and toured worldwide with his band the Fringe as well as with other musicians. He leaves his wife, Marion; daughter, Alicia; and son, Andrew; Marion’s son, Lucas; three grandchildren; and four brothers.    

Earl Richard Johnson Jr. B.M. '92 of Los Angeles died February 3 from complications following heart bypass surgery. He was 51. A film scoring major, Johnson played keyboard and sang background vocals on tours with Brian McKnight and Walter Beasley. He also worked with Stevie Wonder, Patti Austin, Chaka Khan, Beyoncé, and many other artists. He was invited to perform at the Nelson Mandela’s 80th birthday celebration. He leaves his parents, Earl and Joyce; and two brothers. 

Professor Jeff Ramsey of Roxbury, MA, died February 8 after a brief illness. He was 52. A Berklee graduate, he was an outstanding vocalist who had performed with Aretha Franklin, Al Jarreau, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, and many others. He had built a substantial portfolio of work in television and radio advertising campaigns for giants such as Levi’s, Burger King, Mountain Dew, and others. Ramsey was an accomplished educator who had taught at the college since January 2000 and participated as an adjudicator in Berklee’s audition and interview trips around the globe. He leaves several family members and many friends. 

Kedaar Kumar B.M. ’03 of Brookline, MA, died February 12. He was 38. Kumar worked at Berklee as an equipment room specialist in Academic Technology Facilities and had been a lab monitor. A musician and music technologist, his experience ranged from electronic music, synthesis, and coding to VJ and projection-mapping work, audiovisual programming, and game development. He leaves his mother, Rathna, and brother, Chetan.

Thomas Cable of Newton, MA, a jazz composition student in his second semester at Berklee, died unexpectedly on February 26. He was 19. A bass player and drummer, he loved jazz and was especially inspired by Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. He leaves his parents, Anabel and Charlie; sisters Sophie and Juliet (a current Berklee student); and brother, Jock. 

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