Nick Webb, founding steel guitarist and composer of the contemporary jazz group Acoustic Alchemy, has died. He was 43.
Webb, whose albums have twice been nominated for Grammy awards, died Thursday in London of pancreatic cancer.
He formed the eclectic musical group in 1987 and recently had been working on its 10th album, "Positive Thinking."
"We're an instrumental music band of a wide variety of styles, and we've been marketed as New Age," Webb told The Times in 1988 during a series of performances in Southern California. "I don't mind that if it helps us reach an audience, though we don't have a lot in common with a lot of the New Age things. Our influences are jazz, European classical music, flamenco, as well as Latin and African rhythms and such. So it's more your world music, if you like, translated onto the guitar."
Webb and guitarist partner Greg Carmichael literally played their way to America in 1986, performing 10 minutes out of every hour on a Virgin Airlines flight from London to Los Angeles. They soon won a recording contract with MCA's Master Series and produced the successful albums "Red Dust and Spanish Lace," "Natural Elements" and "Blue Chip."