It has been a rough year for R&B fans, and the hits seem to keep coming. Today I’m sad to report the passing of Reginald “Sonny” Burke, talented keyboardist, arranger and producer, and three-decade music director for the great Smokey Robinson. He was 76.

Burke’s brother, Kirkland Burke, posted the sad news on social media

Burke was the consummate musician, who seemed to excel at any instrument with keys on it. He performed on more than 500 albums for a virtual who’s who of classic soul artists, including The Temptations, Jerry Butler, Johnny Mathis, Tavares, Bobby Womack, The Four Tops, The Pointer Sisters, and countless others. Burke was also a noted songwriter, having co-written such hits as “Serpentine Fire” for Earth Wind & Fire and “Let’s Go All The Way” for The Whispers. May he rest in peace.