Alligator Records reports that pianist/singer/songwriter/guitarist Ann Rabson died on Wednesday in Fredericksburg, Va., after a long battle with cancer. She was 67. Co-founder of the hugely successful trio Saffire--The Uppity Blues Women, Rabson recorded eight albums with Saffire and one solo CD for Alligator Records, and released three solo albums for other labels. Her most recent was 2012's "Not Alone" (VizzTone Records).
Considered one of the finest barrelhouse blues pianists of her generation, Rabson -- an accomplished guitarist since she was a teen -- didn't start playing piano until she was 35. DownBeat magazine said that "Rabson plays bluesy, honky-tonk piano with staggering authority."
"Our dear friend Ann Rabson was an extraordinary blues singer, pianist and guitarist and a delightful, smart and funny person," Alligator president Bruce Iglauer said in a release. "As a founding member of Saffire--The Uppity Blues Women, a solo recording artist and a live performer, she brought her talent, intelligence and intense love for the blues tradition to every piece of music she played and sang. Ann never gave her music or the rest of her life less than 100 percent of her commitment. She was a loyal friend, a dedicated champion of the blues, a loving partner to her husband George, and an unforgettable woman. We were blessed to have known her."