Cynthia Robinson, Sly & The Family Stone Trumpeter, Dead at 69
November 24, 2015 at 11:46 AM (PT)
CYNTHIA ROBINSON, the trumpet player, vocalist and co-founder of SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE who doubled as hype woman, uttering the immortal come-on, "Get up and dance to the music," passed away YESTERDAY at the age of 69.
ROBINSON was diagnosed with cancer in OCTOBER, with the establisment of the CYNTHIA ROBINSON CANCER FUND, which will stay active in her memory.
ROBINSON was one of the first female black trumpeters to gain attention for her role in SLY AND THE FAMILIY STONE, entering the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME with the band when they were inducted in 1993.
ROBINSON was born in SACRAMENTO, with a background in blues and R&B, dreaming of one day playing with B.B. KING, LOWELL FULSOM and JKIMMY McCRACKLIN, as she told music journalist JOEL SELVIN.
ROBINSON joined SYLVESTER STEWART, a TEXAS-born musician who worked as a DJ in SAN FRANCISCO for soul station KSOL before forming THE STONERS in 1966, which included ROBINSON, whom he recognized as "one of the best trumpeters in the world." That group evolved into the psychedelic funk-soul group SLY & THE FAMILY STONE.
ROBINSON went on to play with bassist LARRY GRAHAM's GRAHAM CENTRAL STATION, GEORGE CLINTON, PRINCE and as part of SINBAD's ARUBA SUMMER SOUL FESTIVAL. Since 2006, she's been part of the FAMILY STONE with saxophonist JERRY MARTINI Martini and drummer GREG ERRICO. The group also features her daughter with SLY STONE, SYLVETTE PHUNNE STONE, a singer and multi-instrumentalist in her own right. She had one other daughter, LAURA MARIE.
Robinson also sang lead vocals with her daughter on the FAMILY STONE single, "Do Yo Dance," which came out earlier this year.
THE ROOTS' QUESTLOVE paid homage in an INSTAGRAM post: "She wasn't just a screaming cheerleading foil to SLY & FREDDIE's gospel vocals. She was a KICK ASS trumpet player. A crucial intricate part of SLY STONE's utopian vision of MLK's AMERICA: SLY & THE FAMILY STONE were brothers & cousins. friends & enemies. black & white. male & female. saint & sinner. common man & superheroes. guarded & vulnerable. poets & punks. hip & square. She was so cool to us the day we opened up for #SlyAndTheFamilyStone she never ever lost a step or a beat."
Funeral and memorial arrangements have not yet been announced.