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David Axelrod has died aged 83

The American composer and producer, sampled by DJ Shadow, J Dilla, Madlib and many more, has died

Born in 1933 in Los Angeles, David Axelrod was an American drummer, producer and composer. He started his musical career in the latter part of the 1950s, producing albums such as jazz musician Harold Land's The Fox. In 1963 he joined Capitol Records working as producer and A&R and in 1968 wrote Mass in F Minor and Release Of An Oath for The Electric Prunes. Around that time, Axelrod started producing solo works, and his first two releases Song Of Innocence (1968) and Songs Of Experience (1969) formed a two-part homage to William Blake. Musician and Wire contributor Kirk Degiorgio, writing in his Hall Of Fame list of his most influential records, described his work as “sparse and moody – heavily reverberated strings mysteriously come and go – and the funky, fatback drumming gives it impetus. Axelrod is one of those great artists who creates music that manages to defy any fixed genre – it straddles rock, classical, jazz and funk.”

As Degiorgio notes, Axelrod's late 60s work was sampled heavily in many hiphop tracks, including by J Dilla, DJ Shadow, Quasimoto, Mos Def and Lil Wayne, who sampled "Holy Thursday" in his track “Mr Carter”. Axelrod's original is below.