GUTCHEON--Jeffrey. Composer, arranger, songwriter, author, designer and architect, died in New York on June 23d following a long struggle with Lewy body dementia. Born in New York City in 1941, Jeffrey was Phi Beta Kappa at Amherst College, then earned a B. Arch from MIT. He played piano and organ in many styles (rock, country, gospel), and performed and recorded with, among others, Gladys Knight, Willie Nelson, Steve Goodman, Ringo Starr, Great Speckled Bird, and Geoff and Maria Muldaur. The album he released with his band Hungry Chuck (Bearsville records, 1972) has achieved cult status, the subject of numerous bootlegs and re-issues. He designed recording studios, most notably the Hit Factory on 48th St. He was one of the great stride piano players of his generation, and the original musical director of Ain't Misbehavin' the first hit non-book musical, which won the Tony award for Best Musical 1978. A polymath, he was also a force in the American art quilt movement, and authored or co-authored several iconic books on the subject. Jeffrey designed and distributed innovative fabric patterns for two decades through his company, Gutcheon Patchworks, and taught quilting and fabric arts to fans around the world. He served as president of the board of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine and is a member of the Quilters' Hall of Fame. He recorded four albums with the Texas band Lost Country before declining health forced his retirement. He is survived by his son David Gutcheon, his sister Peppi Graves, Ed Graves and his niece Lucy Graves, and is mourned by extended family and friends from the many worlds in which he lived his life. A memorial will be held in New York in the fall, and donations may be made in his honor to The Jeffrey D. Gutcheon 1962 Music Fund by contacting the Amherst College Development Office.
Published in The New York Times on June 30, 2013