Martin Grebb -- 'unsung hero' of music world -- dead at 74
Members of the Chicago music community and beyond recalled the long career and musical legacy of Martin Grebb, whose death was announced Thursday.
Grebb, a Blue Island-born multi-instrumentalist who specialized in saxophone, keyboards and guitar, rose to national fame playing with Chicago pop band The Buckinghams from 1966 to 1968. But his musical contributions went far beyond that: He played in the early '80s with former The Exceptions bandmate Peter Cetera in the rock band Chicago and performed for 25 years with Bonnie Raitt. In addition, he shared the stage over the years with a who's who of musical greats including Leon Russell, The Band, Elton John, Eric Clapton, BB King, Willie Nelson, John Lennon and many others.
Grebb was 74,
Ron Onesti, president and CEO of Onesti Entertainment, hosted one of many benefit concerts in recent years to help Grebb, who had been suffering with cancer.
"Marty Grebb was truly an unsung hero in the musical world, especially that which came out of Chicago," Onesti said. "So many people who came to the Arcada, whether a customer or an entertainer, knew Marty, respected him and loved him. And I don't think he knew how much."
The 2015 fundraiser, organized by Onesti and former Buckinghams bandmate Dennis Tufano, featured a performance by Grebb, as well as The Ides of March, New Colony Six and The Shadows of Knight.
"Grebb was a true mastermind of the keyboard and songwriter, and the reach of his contributions to the music world was not as prevalently known as it should have been," Onesti said. "He was a good guy who loved to play. It's all of our loss."
Grebb's death was confirmed on The Weight's Facebook page, but a cause of death was not cited.
"Our hearts are heavy with the news of our brother, Marty Grebb's, passing. We want to send heartfelt condolences, thoughts & prayers to his loving family, friends and fellow musicians. Sometimes we don't understand a person's journey -- but we do need to have compassion. Marty was a great friend, an amazing musician and a tremendous asset to The Weight Band during his tenure with us. He has been & he will continue to be missed. We pray he's found his peace."
Visitation and funeral details are pending.