Marvin Isley, Funk Bassist for the Isley Brothers, Dead at 56

Marvin Isley, Funk Bassist for the Isley Brothers, Dead at 56

Marvin Isley, bass player for the Isley Brothers during their funk renaissance in the '70s and their commercially successful '80s, died today in Chicago at 56.

Marvin was too young to join the original Isley Brother trio of O'Kelly, Rudolph and Ronald in the '60s, the group responsible for such crossover classics as "Twist and Shout" and "Shout." In 1973, though, he and brother Ernie and cousin Jasper joined the group for the career-revamping album Three + Three, adding an infusion of youthful rhythm that allowed the Isleys to transition into the new decade. Marvin's bass-playing helped make that and the following albums into commercial successes and funk staples that lived on into the hip-hop era as classy samples.

In the '80s, Marvin left to form splinter group Isley-Jasper-Isley, but returned to the Isley Brothers between 1991 and 1997, when he retired after complications from diabetes prevented him from touring.

Marvin at his best, on Soul Train in 1974.


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