James Casey Obituary
James Casey Obituary: The music world is reeling from the devastating loss of acclaimed saxophonist and singer James Casey, who passed away on August 28, 2023 at the young age of 40 after a lengthy battle with colon cancer. Over his prolific career, Casey made his mark performing and recording with renowned acts across genres like Trey Anastasio Band, Meghan Trainor, Phil Lesh, and many more. His prodigious talent and ability to connect deeply with audiences leave a profound void, but his inspirational courage and musical legacy live on.
James Casey Obituary: Early Life and Musical Education
Born in Takoma Park, Maryland in 1982, James Casey grew up in Phoenix, Arizona where his exceptional musical abilities were evident from a young age. He graduated from Desert Vista High School before heading east to pursue his passion at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Move to New York Launches Diverse Career
After college, Casey headed to New York City to immerse himself in the vibrant music scene. As a saxophonist, vocalist, percussionist, producer and musical director, Casey developed a highly sought-after skill set that led to diverse performance and studio work with major recording artists across genres.
Collaborations with Musical Legends
Casey’s prolific career saw him collaborate with renowned acts including the Grateful Dead, Phish, Wu Tang Clan, John Legend, Dave Matthews Band, J. Cole, Shawn Mendes, and many more. His talent earned him a place touring and recording with icons across decades and styles.
Core Member of Trey Anastasio Band
Joining Trey Anastasio Band in 2009, Casey became a beloved core member of the group, dazzling audiences with his saxophone mastery. His interplay with Anastasio created magical improvisational moments that fused Casey’s jazz foundations with jam band flourishes.
Courageously Performing Through Cancer Battle
Even after his devastating colon cancer diagnosis in 2021, Casey bravely continued performing when possible, infusing songs with deeper meaning. His stirring delivery of tunes like “Touch of Grey” and “O-o-h Child”inspired others facing hardship.
Releasing New Original Music
In 2022-2023, Casey shared new singles and a holiday album recorded during cancer treatment to benefit charity. He spoke openly about finding hope through music during his fight.
Outpouring of Admiration and Grief
Casey’s death at only 40 years old sparked an immense outpouring across the music world. Artists like Trey Anastasio and Oteil Burbridge praised Casey’s musical brilliance, courage and friendship. Though deeply mourned, his influence lives on.
A Musical Force Who Connected Through Playing
Above all, James Casey will be remembered for his prodigious talent on saxophone and other instruments that allowed him to seamlessly connect with fellow artists and audiences. His passion for sharing the gift of music leaves an indelible impact.
Courage and Optimism in the Face of Cancer
While cancer tragically cut Casey’s life short, his defiant performing and recording during treatment inspired others facing grave diagnoses. By boldly using music as therapy, he brought comfort to many in darkness.
Valued Friend, Husband and Family Man
Beyond the stage, Casey cherished his role as a husband to wife Ayla and time spent with his mother Gina, father Duane, siblings, nieces and nephews. Their unwavering support anchored him.
A Musical Legacy that Resonates for Generations
The void left by Casey’s passing feels immeasurable, but his mark on music and advocacy in the cancer community will continue resonating. By touching so many with his prodigious talent and strength of spirit, James Casey leaves an enduring legacy that will inspire others for generations.