Sad news to report. Marvin “Henchi” Graves, one of the lead singers with Denver’s Freddi-Henchi Band, passed away this morning after a long battle with cancer. He was 64. From the band’s website:

It is with great sadness that I report that Marvin “Henchi” Graves passed away at around 10:00 AM this morning, June 8, 2009.  Henchi fought a long tough battle with cancer for several years, far exceeding doctors’ expectations.  The nickname Henchi was short for Henchman, which he earned from being an excellent wrestler.  He was one step away from the Olympics when an achilles tendon injury forced him to change directions.  This is what led him into the world of choreography and music.  Henchi was tough all of his life right to the end, yet he was always a very nice person.  Even on days when he was feeling his worst from cancer treatments he remained much more cheerful than one would expect.  He always managed to make a joke or laugh about something.  I sure will miss that laugh.  We knew this day would eventually come.  It just always seemed like it would be in the future and that it would never really arrive.  Henchi had many, many friends and it is a very sad day for everyone that knew him.  The fans have always been a part of a Freddi-Henchi Band show and today I think we all lost a good friend.  We will miss you Henchi, and you will never be forgotten. The world will not be the same without you here.  Rest in Peace, my friend.  We love you.

The popular R&B group was formed in Arizona in the 1960s when Henchi teamed up with fellow singer Fred Gowdy. After years on the circuit, the band settled in Colorado and was a long-time favorite for their high-energy shows. In recent years, they were regulars at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret, and just last summer, they tore it up at 5280’s 15th anniversary celebration. Here’s a  picture from that great evening with (from left) guitarist Bob Yeazel, Lannie Garrett, Fred Gowdy, yours truly, and Henchi on the right. dscf4172 In his final weeks, Henchi got to enjoy a Nuggets-Lakers playoff game, thanks to the generosity of a local fan.