Alex Omes: Family, Friends, and DJs Remember the Ultra Cofounder

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UPDATE The police have revealed that cocaine was found in Alex Omes' condo after his death.

Only 43 years old, Alex Omes has passed away.

He was a cofounder of Ultra Music Festival. And he was a Miami nightlife icon. But most important, he was a father, a son, and a brother as well as a respected peer to thousands upon thousands.

Yesterday, after reporting Omes' death, we at New Times reached out to his family, friends, business partners, colleagues, and dance music compatriots.

Here are their remembrances.

See also: Alex Omes, Ultra Cofounder and Miami Nightlife Icon, Has Died

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RIP Noel "King Sporty" Williams, Miami Reggae Pioneer and "Buffalo Soldier" Writer

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Long live the King. He was 71 years old.

When King Sporty died, Rihanna cried.

The man who wrote "Buffalo Soldier" with Bob Marley in a smoke-filled studio in Hialeah flew to the other side on Monday, January 5 in a Miami hospital at the age of 71.

With roots in Jamaica's Trenchtown music scene that wholly informed hip-hop, pioneering forays into electronic dance music, and an indomitable funk, the man born Noel G. Williams led a life in music that affected millions. And he did much of it from his longtime home in Allapattah, where he was also a mini real estate tycoon.

See also: Miami's Ten Best Reggae Acts of All Time

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RIP China Valles, Pioneering Miami Jazz DJ, Friend of Duke Ellington, Dead at 89

Categories: Obituaries

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China in the studio, the "Purveyor of Swirls," as Duke would say.

Duke Ellington nicknamed Charles "China" Valles the "Maharaja," a Sanskrit word denoting greatness and royalty.

And from his throne behind the microphone and his place at the helm of the Sunshine Jazz Organization, he was indeed a mighty man in American jazz, soul, blues, and R&B. China was a preeminent DJ on South Florida's airwaves, which means that his voice and the music that he played also sailed across the Caribbean, influencing Cubans, Haitians, and Jamaicans.

On Wednesday, December 17, he died at the age of 89. But his life's work and legacy live on through the generations of people he inspired.

See also: Miami's Top Ten Jazz Musicians

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RIP, Jeff Tucci, South Florida Punk Rock Guitar God

Categories: Obituaries

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Jessica Kross

I cleaned some sprouts off some red potatoes, and they sat in the sink, wet and glistening like pomegranate seeds. It was a fleeting thought, them looking that way. A thought I found amusing and privately poetic. I had recently heard that Jeff Tucci had passed. I didn't know the details of his death, still don't, but with my hands in the hot water, potatoes in hand, I began wondering how I'd go about my words here.

A couple of months ago, Load drummer Fausto Figueredo had asked me to pen the liner notes to the band's upcoming album, Drunken Warrior Chief, an honor for me as longtime fan yet bittersweet because Bobby "Load" Johnston's passing had been the last time I wrote about the legendary Miami punk crew. Recently, and before any knowledge of this sad news, I had been informed that my words would not be used in the release and that the band had opted to write something themselves, which is completely understandable -- I was honored for the consideration.

See also: Sleep Well, Sweet Prince, Bobby "Load" Johnston, 1970 to 2012

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RIP Orlando Sanchez, Esteemed Miami Music Lover and Churchill's Pub Fixture, Dead at 35

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Courtesy of Chuck Livid
One of Miami's nicest guys, Orlando Sanchez (right), with Tuffgnarl.com's Chuck Livid at Churchill's Pub.

The news of some folks' death has a way of sounding initially like a bad joke -- something so seemingly impossible, it just couldn't be true.

One such unbelievable occurrence was the passing of local musician, music lover and Churchill's Pub fixture Orlando Sanchez.

When news of his death spread this weekend, it was with disbelief, as if it might be some terrible prank perpetrated upon his friends by a macabre jokester. Or shit, maybe even by the man himself.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. In the morning hours of September 27, Orlando Sanchez died of a heart attack. He was 35 years old.

See also: Churchill's Pub: An Oral History

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RIP Henry Stone, King of Independent Records, Dead at 93

Categories: News, Obituaries

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Jacob Katel
Henry Stone, dancing his ass off at age 92, high above Biscayne Bay at Henry Stone Music headquarters, 2013

Henry Stone, king of the record business, passed away peacefully August 7, 2014, in Miami.

Throughout almost 80 years of wildly prolific musical activity, the 93-year-old had a hand in every aspect of the music business and was a true pioneer of independent manufacturing, promotion, and distribution.

In the 1970s, he ran the biggest independent record company in the world, TK Productions, responsible for the world's first global disco hit, George McCrae's genre-defining "Rock Your Baby," penned by the leaders of his biggest act ever, KC & the Sunshine Band. And lest anyone say otherwise, he made many artists very rich, always paid what he owed, and is held in high esteem by 90 percent of everybody who ever worked with him.

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Paco de Lucia Dead at 66

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Paco de Lucia, who changed jazz guitar in the 1970s and 1980s with his amazing finger work, apparently had a heart attack, his family reported.

A 1981 album, Friday Night in San Francisco, recorded with John McLaughlin and Al Dimeola, is one of the top live jazz guitar albums of all time. His 1973 rumba, "Entre Dos Aguas," was one of the most popular songs ever recorded in Spain.

See also: The Unbelievable Paco de Lucia: A Career Overview

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Miami's DJ SonicC and Two Others Killed in Krome Avenue Car Accident

Categories: News, Obituaries

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Photo by Ricky Fraginals
Anthony "SonicC" Rodriguez.

Over the weekend, a head-on car accident on Krome Avenue tragically killed three people.

At approximately 1:45 a.m. on Sunday morning, a Dodge Durango SUV driven by 19-year-old Erick Betancourt veered into oncoming traffic and smashed into a Chevy Cavalier.

"The impact was so severe," Florida Highway Patrol trooper Joe Sanchez tells the Miami Herald, "that both vehicles ignited and were fully engulfed in flames."

Among the dead were Betancourt's teen sister Gisele, as well as both occupants of the Cavalier, Gabriel Hernandez and his friend Anthony Rodriguez, also known as DJ SonicC.

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Mack Emerman, Criteria Studios Founder, Dead at 89

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Over a half-century ago, Mack Emerman created Criteria Studios in North Miami.

In 1959, it was a modest single-room studio setup. But after forming a partnership with legendary Miami-bred producer Tom Dowd, Criteria became the headquarters for Atlantic Records South, blooming into a massive (and moneyed) operation that produced dozens of major international hits by Eric Clapton, the Bee Gees, Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, and so many others.

By 1988, though, the Criteria Studios founder was forced to give up his business. He attempted a comeback in the late '90s. But soon, his health started slipping. And this week, Maxwell Louis Emerman died at the age of 89.

See also:
-Mack Emerman: King of the Soundboard


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Mindy McCready Commits Suicide, Country Music Star Dead at 37

Categories: News, Obituaries
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Double-platinum country music recording star and the oft-tormented Mindy McCready was found dead at her Arkansas property last night, the victim of an apparent suicide. She was 37.

According to a statement released by the Cleburne County Sheriff's office, McCready died of a self-inflected gunshot wound Sunday afternoon on the front porch of her Heber Springs home after years of publicly battling drug and alcohol addiction, legal troubles, and personal setbacks.

See also:
-Good-bye Dave Brubeck! Five Best Videos
-Jenni Rivera, Latin Pop Star and "Diva of the Banda," Dies in Private Plane Crash in Mexico
-Ravi Shankar, Sitar Legend and Norah Jones's Father, Dead at 92

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