Mitch Aliotta, the original bassist for Rotary Connection, died on Tuesday at the age of 70.
Aliotta was originally in the Chicago based band the Proper Strangers when Marshall Chess, son of Chess Records founder Leonard Chess, recruited the members to form a new group, Rotary Connection. He added Minnie Ripperton, a receptionist for the record company along with studio musicians from the label such as Phil Upchurch and Morris Jennings, and went into the studio to record the band’s self-titled debut album. The album included strings by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and, on two tracks, sitar, to produce a unique blend soul/funk with classical undertones.
The band released two more albums in 1968, Aladdin, which featured Ripperton in a more prominent role, and Peace, a Christmas themed set. Three further albums from 1969 to 1971 failed to chart and the band broke up.
Aliotta then joined his brother, Ted, and Skip Haynes to form the band Aliotta Haynes Music. Their debut album was released in 1970 and, after Ted left and John Jeremiah joined, the new group Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah released their own debut the same year. Known for the Chicago area hit Lake Shore Drive, the band stayed together through the decade, releasing two more albums.
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