Oct. 10. 1955 – May 18, 2015
Calvin W. Loatman, a member of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, started playing when his father brought home a ukulele he won in a raffle. He got his first break at age 16 as a substitute guitarist with the Pneu Breed, performing at the former Electric Sands Hotel and Nightclub at Main at Tupper streets.
The musician, who has many family members still in Buffalo, died Monday under hospice care in Snellville, Ga., where he had lived for nearly 30 years.
Mr. Loatman, the oldest of five children, attended East High School and earned his GED before continuing his education at Buffalo State College and Bryant & Stratton Business Institute. After practicing with his father’s ukulele as an adolescent, he took guitar lessons to build on his talent and his ear for music.
In 1971, he had to get his parents’ permission to perform with Pneu Breed at the Electric Sands since he was underage, and he was on his way as a professional musician. He became a permanent member of the Pneu Breed, an R&B band that once had Lance Diamond as a vocalist.
He was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame in 1998. In awarding the honor, the Hall credited the band for breaking “the color barrier in the suburbs” for local musicians. Also while in Buffalo, Mr. Loatman performed with Jagged Edge, Solar 7 and Junction West, among other groups.
In 1986, he moved to Atlanta and worked in advertising sales for a time before become a staff musician with Da Posse at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga. He was an integral part of the mega-church’s worship and arts ministry for 20 years, until he was sidelined by illness.
Mr. Loatman also took part in the Legends of Funk tours starting in 2009, performing with the legendary Sugarfoot’s Ohio Players. He also performed with radio host Tom Joyner’s Fantastic Voyage Cruise, raising money to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
In Atlanta, Mr. Loatman ran the Menagerie Venture Group, producing outdoor shows and providing artistic support to other musicians. He can be heard on the albums “Word of Mouf” by Ludacris, “More Than Enough” by Gary Oliver and “Even in Darkness” by the Dungeon Family, along with many others.
Friends of Mr. Loatman recall his kindness and fairness, along with the encouragement he gave other musicians and friends.
Surviving are his companion, Martha Harrison; one daughter, Eimizah A. Cromwell; two sisters, Linda Francis and Lisa Nevins; and two brothers, Michael and Mark.
Funeral services will be held at noon Wednesday at New Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, 165 Doat St.