RIP: Dick Kniss, 1937-2012

Dick Kniss

Dick Kniss – the longtime bassist with Peter, Paul & Mary – died on Wednesday in Kingston of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The 74-year-old musician was a resident of Saugerties, although he had lived previously lived in Troy and had strong connections in the Capital Region.

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Kniss was best known as the bassist with Peter, Paul & Mary, working with them from 1964-1969, when the trio broke up. And when the threesome re-formed in 1978, Kniss re-joined the fold, playing with them until the death of Mary Travers in 2009.

But he wasn’t just twiddling his thumbs during the ’70s between PP&M stints. From 1970-1978, he was the bassist with John Denver and the co-author of one of Denver’s biggest hits, “Sunshine On My Shoulders.”

And while he was undoubtedly a well-regarded figure on the folk scene, Kniss also has some serious jazz chops. He was playing in Woody Herman’s band just prior to joining PP&M, and while in Troy he was performing with jazz drummer Dick Berk and jazz legend Nick Brignola in a band cleverly named Dick, Dick & Nick.

We’ll miss you, Dick. Thanks for all the music…

Read Dick Kniss’ obituary at The New York Times

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