Musician Ben Riley: Jazz Drummer Dies @ 84 – Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins

American jazz drummer Ben Riley died on Saturday (11/18) at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, New York. The cause of death is still unknown at this time. Riley was 84 years old.

Best known for his association with Thelonious Monk, Riley also worked with Sonny Rollins, Alice Coltrane, Stan Getz, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Kenny Barron, and as member of the group Sphere. The drummer’s understated backing rhythm can be heard on Rollins’ 1962 highly-acclaimed album, The Bridge, Rollins’ first release following a three-year sabbatical.  In 2015, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Riley’s latter years were spent at a nursing home, but according to family, music played a key role in his life to the very end.

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