Newswire: R.I.P. Kelan Phil Cohran, multi-faceted jazz visionary

Kelan Philip “Phil” Cohran, the multi-faceted, multi-talented jazz musician, composer, bandleader, and instrument-maker who mentored generations of musicians and created a cosmic, soulful, unorthodox musical palette of plucked and bowed instruments—including the harp, the ukelin, and the Frankiphone, a type of electrified thumb piano he invented—died Wednesday at the University Of Chicago Medical Center, according to the Chicago Tribune. The venerable Chicago jazz mainstay, who added the honorific “Kelan” to his name in the early 1990s, was 90 years old.

Born in Oxford, Mississippi and raised in St. Louis, Cohran first found recognition as a cornet and trumpet player for The Arkestra, the legendary Afrofuturist ensemble led by the greatest eccentric in jazz, Sun Ra, who was then based in Chicago. Given the visionary bandleader’s fondness for unusual instrumentation, it was perhaps inevitable that Cohran would begin experimenting with some of his own; his squeaking ukelin—a …

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