‘Papa’ John Creach

“Papa”John Creach, 76, a violinist who crossed musical genres with skills honed on the cocktail lounge circuit and acclaimed on the rock ‘n’ roll concert stage, died Tuesday.

Creach died of natural causes at Midway Hospital.

Equally skilled in jazz, blues, pop and rock, Creach may have been best known for his years with the rock group Jefferson Airplane, which later became Jefferson Starship.

Creach had toured with Jefferson Starship for the past two years. Although hobbled by arthritis, he was still able to bring audiences to their feet with soulful riffs on his electric violin.

Creach was born in Beaver Falls, Pa., on May 28, 1917.

In the 1930s he formed the group the Chocolate Music Bars. Creach settled in Los Angeles in the late 1940s and played cocktail lounges all over California for the next 20 years with the Johnny Creach Trio.

Friend Joey Covington introduced Creach to members of Jefferson Airplane in 1970.

Creach, who was nicknamed “Papa” by the young group, performed and recorded with Jefferson Airplane until its breakup in 1972. He also played with group Hot Tuna from 1971-73.

In 1992, Creach recorded “Papa Blues,” his first CD and his first all-blues set with the Bernie Pearl Blues Band.

Survivors include his wife, two brothers and a sister. Funeral arrangements were pending.

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