Prolific Milwaukie musician Jimmy Lashbrook dies at 75
Jimmy Lashbrook, one-third of the Lashbrook Brothers Band that played many park gigs and fundraisers in Milwaukie in recent years, died Oct. 24. Cardiac arrest was the cause of his death at the age of 75.
Lashbrook's biggest musical fascination was "vocal arranging" — getting different voices to sound great together. His musicianship, and his appreciation for music of all kinds, kept expanding as he got older.
"Whether in a live show, in the studio or just rehearsing, you could expect a big smile from Jimmy when the group came together on a tight harmony," said his brother Stephan Lashbrook.
Born April 18, 1945, Lashbrook reportedly had musical aptitude even as a kid, including the remarkable ability to make instruments he had never played before sound good. He started playing the guitar as an adolescent — when Elvis Presley and folk music filled America's Top 40. But he did not get serious about music until The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show in the 1960s, at which point he put away his acoustic guitar and his Kingston Trio song book and started playing rock music.
Lashbrook's aspirations for a career in music had to wait as he went to college and then served two years in the U.S. Navy. After discharge, he played with a series of bands in California and Oregon. He added keyboards, flute, alto saxophone and tenor sax to the stable of instruments he played, along with the guitar and bass he had played since his youth.
"Jimmy could be a real taskmaster to his fellow musicians, always expecting more," Stephan Lashbrook said. "On the other hand, he was always helpful and supportive to neophyte musicians who were scared to jump into the deep water and sing in public or play an instrumental solo. Many accomplished musicians have credited Jimmy with getting them started and then supporting their careers."
Lashbrook often told his bandmates that he was never happier than when he moved back to Oregon and got to share music with Stephan Lashbrook and adopted brother Don White. The three of them first played together in the 1970s, so regrouping the LashBros, as they were known to their fans, about eight years ago made perfect sense.