Tribute and Jam Session Planned For Bill Koggenhop

Beloved local bass player Bill Koggenhop passed away last June after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. Bill packed an enormous amount of music into his 55 years, and touched an extraordinary number of lives. Many of Bill's friends across multiple musical genres are gathering on Tuesday November 11, 7:00 pm, at Memphis Smoke 100 S. Main in Royal Oak, to honor his legacy with what promises to be one huge and juicy evening of Reggae, Blues, Latin and Jazz, topped off by a whale of a jam session with some of the region's finest players. Bands and soloists thus far include Immunity, Bugs Beddow Band, Lynn LaPlante Latin Jazz Band, GEQ, Mikhal Caldwell, Kerry Lundquist and Chery Strubel.


November 8, 1952 June 13, 2008

William (Bill) Louis Koggenhop is survived by Terri, his wife of 26 years and daughters Kristina and Karly. A graduate of Lawrence Technological University with a B.A. in Mathematics, Bill excelled in his career as a computer programmer and was employed at Ford Motor Company

Bill began his 40 year music career in middle school with the coronet, but it didn't take him long to discover his natural talent as a bass guitarist.

His unique style of playing bass left-handed, upside-down and backwards combined with technical precision, 'rapid finger work' and heartfelt soul earned him a reputation as a dynamic soloist. Bill was a 30 year member of the American Federation of Musicians and was often affectionately referred to in the music industry as 'The Kog'.

Bill played the Grande Ballroom with his band Armada and later was with the band Triton managed by Ron Geddish. He also played bass for many acoustic groups including Jan Krist. In the 1980's Bill was the occasional bassist known as "Rosco Rouge" for the comedy act of Malone and Nuchhi. He was a member of the top 40 groups Higher Ground and Starlight. He also was an instructor at Birmingham's "Strings and Things" in the 70's, later taking on bass students at home. Bill also played with all of Detroit's full big bands whenever contracted and did many music theatre projects because of his skill in sight reading music.

Bill studied both classical and jazz music with a passion and his extensive knowledge of both brought him very close to the historian level. His expansive book and record library is legendary. Bill was an ever evolving student of all music and never allowed himself to remain for long in any single genre. Those who played with him would tell you that he was the most prepared and well rehearsed musician they ever knew.

Nominated in a variety of categories by his peers in the music industry, the Detroit Music Awards honored Bill with six individual awards as well as 13 group awards during his career.

As a music producer, Bill also enjoyed working with many local groups in his home studio. As a member of his church community, he played bass accompanying the choir at Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church in Walled Lake. As a father, Bill encouraged both his daughters to explore their own musical talents, volunteering his time to help with Marching Band and Drum Line at school activities throughout the years.

In Bill's later years he was most well know for his work with reggae band Immunity. He leaped into that project because it was one of the few genres he had never studied, as always looking for a new musical challenge. Over 1, 100 Immunity gigs later Bill felt the need to explore Latin music and changed gears with his usual focus and determination. His Latin projects included Johnny Rodriguez's Fiery Latin Band, Merengue Grupo Allegre, he co-founded Atlantez with Robert Reeves and his last project was with salsa master Kerry Lundquist, Orquesta Sensacional.

Musically Bill went around the world, even showing up in an occasional blues or country band when he was needed. He played countless benefits for others and was always there to help out a fellow musician. On Bill's passing Immunity guitarist Tom Wall said" Bill just had to get to heaven before the rest of us. Somebody has to set up the equipment and make sure everything works properly before we get there." That was always Bill, arriving at the gig first and making sure everything was set and ready to play.

In his spare time Bill enjoyed vegetable gardening, watching 'classic movies' and was a devoted fan of "The Tigers" (Detroit Tiger Baseball).

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