Bradenton, Sarasota musicians among the greats who died in 2012

Remembering Donna Summer, Donald 'Duck' Dunn and Larry 'Rhino' Reinhardt

wtatangelo@bradenton.comDecember 29, 2012 

She reigned as disco's supreme diva.

"Duck" played bass on some of the greatest rock and soul records of all time.

"Rhino" was one of the original Southern rock and psychedelic guitar heroes.

Donna Summer, Donald "Duck" Dunn and Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt were three musicians we lost in 2012 who lived in Manatee or Sarasota.

Reinhardt, who died Jan. 2 at Manatee Memorial Hos

pital, can be heard on Iron Butterfly's 1970 album "Metamorphosis."

The Manatee County native went on to cofound Captain Beyond, which released a self-titled album on famed Southern rock label Capricorn Records in 1972 and another, "Sufficiently Breathless," a year later.

Reinhardt began his career in the 1960s, performing around Bradenton and Sarasota before he relocated to Jacksonville to play with future Allman Brothers Band members Dickey Betts and Berry Oakley in the group Second Coming.

By 2004, Reinhardt had teamed with his old pal Mack Doss, who had been a member of Classics IV, most famous for the 1968 smash "Spooky." Doss-Rhino played places like the Cortez Kitchen, Grego's in Palma Sola and D Coy Ducks on Holmes Beach.

Reinhardt, a 1966 Southeast High School grad, formed Rhino and the Posse and released his final album, "Back in the Day," about a year before his death. In addition to playing lead guitar, he wrote all of the songs. Don Bonzi joined him on guitar. The rest of the "posse" consisted of members from Betts' Great Southern group including keyboardist/singer Mike Kach.

"He was so excited when he was writing songs for that album," Kach said. "It was amazing the amount of enthusiasm he had for his music and playing music."

Dunn and Summer

Dunn's death hit me particularly hard.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's brilliant bass playing is all over some of the greatest popular recordings ever made, including many of my favorites.

From Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett to Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks, Dunn sweetened their sounds.

He and wife, June, lived quietly in Manatee County.

And I got to spend some wonderful time talking with them backstage at the Sarasota Blues Festival.

Especially at the one in 2011.Dunn died May 13, at the age of 70, while touring Tokyo with, among others, close friend and fellow musician Steve Cropper.

Shocked and sad, I talked to longtime Sarasota Blues Festival director Barbara Strauss.

She brought Dunn's famed band, Booker T. and the MGs, to the Sarasota Blues Festival in 1999.

Strauss recalled spending time with "Duck" and June at their home on Snead Island.

"I knew him on two levels," she said. "Before I met him, I was blown away by all the great music he played on, but he was also a great husband, a great father, a great friend and a just a humble guy who enjoyed life."

Strauss ran the Sarasota Blues Festival for nearly two decades starting in 1993. The famed bass player and his wife were regulars at the annual event, often spotted hanging in the VIP area with people such as AC/DC singer and Sarasota resident Brian Johnson.

"They were royalty to us," Strauss said of the Dunns.

A mere four days after Dunn's death, the singer of disco anthems such as "Hot Stuff," "Bad Girls" and "She Works Hard for the Money" died in Naples.

To the surprise of many, Donna Summer had been living as Donna Sudano with her husband, Bruce Sudano, in a four-bedroom, four-bath home in Englewood, according to Sarasota County records obtained by the Bradenton Herald.

Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7057. Follow Twitter.com/wtatangelo.

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