Saturday, May 18, 2024

James Mtume, R&B Legend, Played with Miles Davis, Wrote Hits for Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, Stephanie Mills


So many people died today, and I had to write a lot of obits. Not fun.

But I couldn’t let James Mtume’s death today at 76 go unremarked upon. He played with Miles Davis during the early 70s He had his own hits like “Juicy Fruit.”  He wrote “The Closer I Get to You” for Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway, and the amazing “Never Knew Love This Before” for Stephanie Mills with Reggie Lucas. (Lucas repurposed it a couple of years for “Borderline” by Madonna. Mtume’s song was first.)

Mtume was an R&B superstar, and he will be sorely missed. Condolences to his family and friends and fans, who are many.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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