Jay Bennett, R.I.P.

noah | May 24, 2009 10:15 pm

Jay Bennett, a multi-instrumentalist and producer, passed away in his sleep Saturday night, according to a statement from his management company. Bennett was perhaps best known for his time with Wilco, with whom he played from 1994 through 2001; he also played in the ’90s powerpop act Titanic Love Affair and had an extensive list of musical credits. Last year, he put out the solo album Whatever Happened I Apologize, which he distributed for free under a Creative Commons license, and there’s currently a project underway to collect funds from fans for a vinyl release of the album. After the cut, a few tracks from his wide-ranging body of work. Titanic Love Affair, “Planet Strange” (from Titanic Love Affair, 1991)

Wilco, “A Shot In The Arm” (from Summerteeth, 1999)
Wilco, “Pot Kettle Black” (from Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, 2002; Bennett provided “Wall of feedback, Electric guitars, Mellotrons, Synth, ‘B-Bender electric guitars,’ and Manual keyboard effects”)
Jay Bennett, “I’ll Decorate My Love” (from Whatever Happened I Apologize, 2008)
There’s also a 1999 Austin City Limits appearance by Wilco on YouTube. Earlier this month, Bennett made headlines when he sued former bandmate Jeff Tweedy for breach of contract stemming from unpaid royalties; in a post on his MySpace blog shortly before the news of the lawsuit came out, Bennett blogged about upcoming hip replacement surgery and his work on his long-in-the-works album Kicking at the Perfumed Air. Jay Bennett was 45. UPDATE: Jim DeRogatis at the Chicago Sun-Times has spoken to former Bennett collaborator Edward Burch: “Early this morning, Jay died in his sleep and an autopsy is being performed.” Jay Bennett [MySpace] Jay Walter Bennett [Undertow Music Collective]