Vince Montana, Jr., who was an essential part of the Philly Sound that dominated popular music in the 70s and early 80s, has died at age 85.

Montana performed in TSOP, the famed Philadelphia Records house band, and was a founder of the spinoff Salsoul Orchestra that backed many of the popular singers on Salsoul Records.  Montana was an immense talent: As a musician he often was featured on vibraphones or on percussion instruments of all kinds. But he was also talented at scoring music, and his work on many of the most important dance songs of the late 70s made him a go-to contributor during the disco and post-disco periods.

Montana began his career in the 60s working with pop artists like Frankie Avalon, but went on to work primarily with R&B and dance acts such as the O'Jays, the Intruders, Wilson Pickett, Ronnie Dyson, The Stylistics and countless others. He continued to work into the 90s, as he was called on by such diverse acts as the Pet Shop Boys and The Braxtons.

While his name was not well known to popular audiences, his role in some of the greatest music of the past half century was significant, and he will be missed.

From his facebook page "Today we ask for the strength and prayers of those who loved Vincent Montana, Jr., who passed away peacefully today, April 13, 2013 with his loved ones beside him. A man who brought us great joy in so many ways. He will always be with us through his music."