James Mtume, 'Juicy Fruit' artist and R&B musician, dead at 76

The daughter of James Mtume’s late creative partner Reggie Lucas, Lisa Lucas, took to Twitter this morning to confirm the passing of the musician.,

James Mtume, a percussionist who performed in Miles Davis’ seminal fusion band from 1971 to 1975 and later had hits with his own eponymous group, has died at the age 76.

The daughter of Mtume’s late creative partner Reggie Lucas, Lisa Lucas, took to Twitter this morning to confirm the passing of the musician.

“So much loss. So much grief. Rest in power to Uncle Mtume. My late fathers partner in crime, the co-creator of the songs of my life (and about my birth!). He was essential part of the life of the man who made me, therefore me too. Gone now. He will be dearly, eternally missed,” Lucas wrote.

James Mtume's namesake group had several No. 1 hits on the Billboard charts, including the much-sampled 'Juicy Fruit'.

James Mtume’s namesake group had several No. 1 hits on the Billboard charts, including the much-sampled ‘Juicy Fruit’. (Photo by David Corio/Redferns)

There is no cause of death at the time of reporting.

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Mtume appeared on 80 albums with a wide variety of other notable musicians, including Duke Ellington, Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Roberta Flack and Lonnie Liston Smith.

His namesake group Mtume had several No. 1 hits on the Billboard charts, including the much-sampled “Juicy Fruit.”

American jazz musician Miles Davis (1926 - 1991) arriving at London Airport, circa 1973.

American jazz musician Miles Davis (1926 – 1991) arriving at London Airport, circa 1973. (Photo by R. Brigden/Express/Getty Images)

During his time with his own group, Mtume also wrote songs for an assortment of artists, including Stephanie Mills’ hit single “Never Knew Love Like This Before” for which he both received a Grammy for Best R&B Song Writing and Producing and the Roberta Flack/Donny Hathaway singles “The Closer I get To You” and “Back Together Aga and the Roberta Flack/Donny Hathaway hit singles “The Closer I Get To You” and “Back Together Again.”

Following Mtume’s disbandment, James Mtume resumed his already prolific production and songwriting career, which included writing “Freak Tonight” by R. Kelly from the “A Thin Line Between Love and Hate” soundtrack, and coproducing Mary J. Blige’s album, “Share My World.” He also produced Roy Ayers and the Bar-Kays, and composed the music and theme song for the 1990s television police drama “New York Undercover.”

James Mtume influenced numerous artists including Swizz Beatz (right).

James Mtume influenced numerous artists including Swizz Beatz (right). (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Information on survivors and memorial plans was not immediately available.

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