Johnny Gilmore

Johnny Gilmore

One week after a performance with the jazz trio that bears his name, longtime local drummer Johnny Gilmore died after a fire broke out in the home that Gilmore shared with his father, Curtis. Three days after his death, musicians, family and friends gathered at Fry’s Spring Beach Club to honor the musician’s life with stories and songs.

“They say he could play with anyone,” said Shane Thomas, a man who once caught Gilmore behind his kit with a country band in Scottsville. As a testament to just that, musicians from all corners of Gilmore’s career came together for a night of music that recreated the vibrant beat that Gilmore himself provided his hometown for years.

Former local Richelle Claiborne returned home to sing during Sunday evening’s celebration of Johnny Gilmore. She began her performance with the words, “I love you, Johnny,” and ended with the same.


For the Sunday evening memorial event at Fry’s Spring Beach Club, community members donated food, photos, a film and made additional contributions to assist Gilmore’s father, also injured in the fire that claimed his son.


Houston Ross, a member of the Powerhouse Trio along with Gilmore and guitarist Jamal Millner, said that he spent two years looking for Gilmore after he overheard people say, “There’s this little boy playing drums in the projects.”


Andy Waldeck (pictured) joined trumpeter Matt Horn for a song during a night of music that included sets from Greg Howard, Morwenna Lasko and Jay Pun, Darrell Rose and Jamie Dyer, and many more.