Who Was Jim Beard? keyboardist for Steely Dan dies aged 63
Who Was Jim Beard? keyboardist for Steely Dan dies aged 63

Reports confirm the passing of Jim Beard, the keyboardist renowned for his work with Steely Dan, at the age of 63. Beard, recognized for his collaborations with jazz icons such as Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, and Wayne Shorter, succumbed to complications from a sudden illness in a New York City hospital.

Born in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania, in 1960, Beard relocated to New York in 1985 to pursue his musical ambitions. Throughout his career, he traversed the globe, touring with diverse musicians and contributing to recordings across various musical genres, as outlined in his website biography.

Jim Beard, RIP. Pictured here with Eliane Elias in 1988.
Jim Beard, RIP. Pictured here with Eliane Elias in 1988.

Jim Beard’s Musical Legacy 

With a catalog boasting over 100 compositions, Beard’s musical legacy extended beyond performances with esteemed orchestras and appearances at international festivals. His contributions earned him multiple Grammy nominations, and his involvement in the live album “Some Skunk Funk” garnered two Grammy wins in 2007.

Joining Steely Dan in 2008 as their keyboardist, Beard made significant contributions to the band until his final performance on January 20th in Phoenix, Arizona.

 

More About Jim Beard

Survived by his two children, Victor and Caitlin, along with his mother, Sarah, brother Bill Beard, and sister Nancy Canale, Beard’s passing left a profound impact on the music community. Tributes poured in from fellow musicians, honoring his talent, presence, and profound influence on the musical landscape. Drummer Peter Erskine fondly remembered Beard as the “glue” of many projects, while Antonio Sanchez lamented the loss of his “gentle soul” and “insanely talented” friend. Saxophonist Ben Wendel expressed gratitude for Beard’s musical genius and the opportunity to connect with him personally.

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