Ese out at 54

One of Syracuse's grooviest guys, rocker David "Ese" Alaniz, died early Saturday morning, May 10. His Dark Hollow bandmate, RC Vincitore, said Ese was just 54 years old.

"His impact on local musicians and music lovers has been immeasurable," Vincitore said.

Alaniz was co-founder, along with guitarist David Homel, of the legendary Homel-Alaniz Band which played more than 330 Monday nights in a row from 1987 to 1993, at the now-defunct Sutter's Mill in the South Crouse alleyway, near Syracuse University. During the final year of the Sutter's stand, the H-A Band was signed to Relix Relativity Records which released its 10-track debut, It's a Brand New Day, produced by David Nelson of the Jerry Garcia Band.

Both H-A and Dark Hollow paid enthusiastic tribute to the Grateful Dead and the folk-rock music of the 1960s.

Friday benefit in B'ville

Alaniz, who played bass and acoustic guitar, had been ill for some time, so colleagues planned a benefit for him at 8 p.m. Friday, May 15, at Wacky Wyatt's on Route 31, in Baldwinsville. Initially designed to raise money to help him get well, the four-band bill will now celebrate his life and raise money for his family. Performing will be Dark Hollow, The Family Dawgz, the Tipp Hillbillies and Humble Bones. A jam session will cap off the evening. Admission costs $20.

Born in Texas, Ese met Dave Homel in the Navy and they started playing together in 1975.

"Last I heard, Dave Homel was on the West Coast near Portland, Oregon," Vincitore said.

Some of Ese's favorite songs to play or sing were "Big River," "U.S. Blues," "Rocky Raccoon," "Deep Ellum Blues" and "Terrapin Station." He wrote many songs as well, including "Soldier of Fortune" (co-written with David Nelson), "Slow Motion Rider" and "Syracuse to Buffalo" co-composed by Joe Henson).

To make a donation to the Alaniz family, call Vincitore at 454-0179.

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