No Wave Hero James Chance Dead at 71

The Contortions leader's health had been in decline for several years

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Jun 19, 2024

New York musician James Chance — a key figure in the no wave movement of the '70s and '80s for his work with the Contortions and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks — has died. He was 71.

The singer and saxophonist died yesterday (June 18) at Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center in New York, according to a statement posted to this official Facebook page. His brother, David Siegfried, did not specify the musician's cause of death, but noted that his health had been in decline for several years. (Chance and his late wife, Judy Taylor, launched a GoFundMe back in 2020 to aid the artist while "severely affected by personal health issues," and his friends launched another last year to help cover medical expenses.)

Chance's final performance is believed to have taken place in March 2019 in Utrecht, Netherlands. He was known for his controversial, confrontational stage presence, and was among the first to merge the worlds of punk and free jazz that characterized the countercultural scene. Read about his career and lasting influence in the Facebook post below.

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