Norton Buffalo 1951-2009 R.I.P.

 

Harmonica legend
played with Steve Miller Band, Elvin Bishop, Bonnie Raitt and more.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Less than a month ago harmonica great Norton Buffalo was diagnosed
with lung cancer. Word spread through the rock and blues community rapidly when
the following news was posted to the musician’s official website:

 

Norton has been recently diagnosed with stage 4B Lung
Cancer (adenocarcinoma) which was also discovered in his pleural fluid and his
brain. He has been using a combination of Western Medicine, Chinese Traditional
Medicine, Prayer, Spiritual Healers, Native American Healing, Reike,
Visualization and Positive Thought, Acupuncture, Massage, … and is taking in
all the love and prayers from friends fans and loved ones from around the
globe. He is currently home and gaining strength after his first round of
Chemotherapy. His loving wife Lisa has been his constant support throughout
this challenging time and he is as well receiving lots of support and care from
his family and close circle of friends.

 

Sadly, Buffalo’s
battle proved brief; according to a report posted yesterday at Nightwatcher’s
House of Rock
, he passed away Friday. He was 58.

 

Buffalo was born in Oakland, California, in 1951, going on
to prominence in the ‘70s playing with various Bay Area outfits (among them,
blues guitar great Elvin Bishop’s band). Later he was a member of Commander
Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen and the Steve Miller Band, playing on a number
of key Miller albums during the guitarist-songwriter’s hitmaking years in the
mid/late ‘70s.

 

He also released a number of solo albums, fronted his own
band The Knockouts, played with the likes of the Doobie Brothers, Roy Rogers
(with whom he won a Grammy nomination in 1991), Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt,
Mickey Hart and Merl Saunders, and also appeared in a number of films. He also
continued to work with the Steve Miller Band. All in all, Buffalo appeared on 180 albums during his
long career, and the loss his death brings to the rock and blues world is
immeasurable.

 

[Photo Credit: Dave Rocco]

 

 

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