‘Big sound in his horn unlike anyone else.’ Blues and R&B legend Grady Gaines dies at 86

Saxophonist Grady Gaines Remembered
Saxophonist Grady Gaines Remembered

HOUSTON – The music industry is mourning the loss of blues and R&B great Grady Gaines, who died at 86 on Friday at his home.

Houston’s own Grady Gaines was a saxophone legend and played with the Texas Upsetters, known for their authentic and soulful music.

“Mr. Grady Gaines loved his music that was his whole talk his music. That was his history and his life,” said his wife Clemet ‘Nell’ Pharms Gaines.

She said Grady Gaines was a good man, and that they were married for 35 years.

“He was a very, very lovely and nice guy, most nice person you could ever meet,” she said.

Grady Gaines and his younger brother Roy Gaines began playing music at a young age.

“His talent was God-given and he realized that at an early age,” His son Grady Gaines Jr. said.

Gaines Jr. remembers his father always on the road.

“He was traveling with musicians all around the country,” he said.

Grady Gaines devoted over six decades to playing music. He released three albums, received countless awards and proclamations, and performed and recorded with several stars including Sam Cooke, Little Richard, and James Brown.

“I miss him so very dearly. I miss him so much. I couldn’t even sleep last night. I tossed and turned. He was my heart. He was my rock. He was my everything,” Nell Gaines said.

The famous Saxophonist may be gone, but Gaines Jr. is keeping his music and legacy alive as the leader of the Texas Upsetters.

“I think it’s very important when you consider the number of parties, corporate and private events and you can see the people having a great time. It’s kind of like what life is all about, doing something that you can enjoy,” Grady Jr. said.

Susie Criner is the founding owner of Gulf Coast Entertainment and managed Grady Gaines’ career.

“He had a huge big sound in his horn unlike anyone else. It was very distinctive,” Criner said.

Grady Gaines touched the lives of so many musicians and people. He will always be remembered, she said.

“He was a very down to earth man. He told me once, ‘I’m just an everyday person, I just like to treat people the way I like to be treated,” Criner said.

The Gaines family is making funeral arrangements.

If you would like to read more about Grady Gaines’ life, click here.