News In Archive

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William Vacchiano
The trumpeter and teacher William Vacchiano has died aged 93.

Report By Ben Mattison
22 Sep 2005

William Vacchiano, principal trumpeter of the New York Philharmonic from 1942 to 1973, died on September 19.

According to a statement from the Juilliard School, where he taught for many years, he died at Cabrini Medical Center in New York City of natural causes. He was 93.

Vacchiano was born in Portland, Maine, and took up the trumpet at age 12. Two years later, he joined the Portland Symphony, and also played with the 242nd Coast Artillery Band. He studied at Juilliard, then called the Institute of Musical Art, from 1931 to 1935.

In 1935, he joined the New York Philharmonic, having turned down a simultaneous job offer from the Metropolitan Opera; he was made principal trumpeter seven years later. During his 38 years with the orchestra, he performed and recorded with conductors Leonard Bernstein, Leopold Stokowski, Igor Stravinsky, George Szell, and Bruno Walter, among others.

Vacchiano was one of the first important American trumpet players to use an instrument tuned to the key of C (the standard trumpet is in B-flat), and according to Juilliard he helped to spread the practice of using instruments transposed to fit various works of music.

He also wrote a series of textbooks and designed a line of trumpet mouthpieces.

Vacchiano was a member of Juilliard's faculty from 1935 to 1998 and an emeritus professor from 1998 to 2002. He taught about 2,000 students, according to his own estimate; they included Wynton Marsalis, Miles Davis, Gerard Schwarz, and Philip Smith, the Philharmonic's current principal trumpeter.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Philharmonic said, "William Vacchiano was a highly respected and beloved member of the New York Philharmonic over the course of several decades. His presence is still felt here, and will live on in the memory of the musicians, board and staff."

Juilliard president Joseph W. Polisi and chairman Bruce Kovner said, "The entire Juilliard community mourns the passing of William Vacchiano, one of the longest-serving faculty members in the history of the school. A person of impeccable musical integrity and great humanity, he was revered and loved by his students and friends. He will be deeply missed."

Maine Today

Photo by The Julliard School

Steve Marcus
The tenor saxohonist Steve Marcus has died on 25th September, 2005 in New Hope, Pennsylvania, aged 66.

Steve Voce in The Independent

Alan Downey
The trumpeter, composer, arranger Alan Downey has died in London aged 60.

Colin Stuart

Charles Rowland
Good news for a change. The trumpeter Charles Rowland has been found, alive and well in Dapto, New South Wales, Australia.
Ask the Webmaster for contact details. Remove the brackets [@]

Rob Pronk
The trumpeter, composer, arranger Rob Pronk has been taken to hospital with severe heart problems and is now in Intensive Care.


Dear Friends,
I am Babs Pronk, Rob's sister.
At the moment I'm staying at his home in Grunwald, Munich, Germany.
Thanks to Rene Laanen's kind mediation, word of my brother's illness has quickly spread.
Rob wishes to express his heartfelt gratitude for your concern.
We love you all dearly and he assures you that he is: "hanging in there!"
Fondest regards, Babs Pronk

Colleagues and friends can write to him at: Rob Pronk,
Krankenhaus Harlaching, Sanatoriumplatz 2,
81545 München, Germany

Francy Boland

The pianist, arranger and bandleader Francy Boland has died in Geneva, Switzerland on August 12th, aged 75.

Boland became famous through his coöperation - initiated by producer Gigi Campi - with the legendary Kenny Clarke, with whom he founded the famous Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Orchestra, probably the best big band that in Europe ever existed. Boland wrote all the arrangements and had a line-up of the best European jazzplayers and the best Americans living in the sixties and the seventies in Europe.

Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland
Jazz in Belgium

Francy Boland

Keter Betts

The bassist Keter Betts has died in Silver Spring on Saturday, August 6th, 2005 aged 77.

Keter played in bands with Oscar Peterson, Tommy Flanagan, Woody Herman, Nat Adderley, Joe Pass, Clifford Brown and Vince Guaraldi.He was heard on more than 200 recordings, notably with guitarist Charlie Byrd and singers Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald. Trumpeter Clark Terry, formerly with the Duke Ellington and Tonight Show orchestras, said Keter Betts was "on the top plateau of all the bass players."

Lucky Thompson

The saxophonist Lucky Thompson has died on Saturday, 31st July, 2005 aged 81.

Seattle Times
All About Jazz

Al McKibbon

The bassist Al McKibbon has died in Los Angeles on 29th July, 2005 aged 88. His superb tone and beat marked him as one of the best bassists to come to prominence in the late '40s. Al recorded and toured with Dizzy, Basie, Shearing, etc. Also recorded with Miles (Birth of the Cool) on Capitol.

Irene Miller Irene

The singer Irene Miller has died in London on July 31st, 2005, aged 77.

Real name Rene Wilson, Irene was very much in demand as a band vocalist in the 1950s and 60s. She worked with, among others, the Tito Burns Sextet and the big bands of Ken Mackintosh and Jack Parnell. She died as the result of a fire in her London house.

The Ken Mackintosh Band of 1963. Bobby Pratt and Irene Miller at the microphone.

News Shopper

Albert Mangelsdorff

The trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff has died in Frankfurt am Main, Germany on 25th July, 2005 aged 76.

...probably the most important jazz musician in post- war Germany. Wolfram Knauer

...Albert was very famous for his one-man shows where he played all alone for a couple of hours on the trombone, getting double notes by groaning into the horn or something and actually playing in harmony with himself. On this particular concert in Wiesbaden he was in the trombone section, but also had a solo spot where he amazed everybody with a spectacular rendering of Creole Love Call in two-part harmony. At one stage of the rehearsal, which was for a TV show, the sound engineer asked the five trombones to play a built-up chord, commonly known as a pyramid, where each player holds on to a note, one after the other, until a full chord is heard. The trombones duly obliged. There was a short silence and then Derek Watkins said, into the microphone: "That was only Albert. Would you like to hear the others now?" Ron Simmonds

Tribute - Trombone Page of the World
The Jazz Pages

Photo: Ron Simmonds

Jackie Armstrong

The trombonist Jackie Armstrong has died in London on 16th July, 2005 aged 85. He played with Lou Preager, Ted Heath from 1947-52, Woolf Philips at the London Palladium, The BBC Show Band and Jack Parnell's ATV Orchestra.


John Stubblefield

The saxophonist John Stubblefield has died in New York, on July 4th, 2005, aged 60.

Roberto's Woodwind

Pierre Michelot

The bassist Pierre Michelot has died in Paris, on July 3rd, 2005, aged 77.

National Post

Chris Griffin

The trumpeter Gordon Chris Griffin has died, on June 21st, 2005, aged 89.

In my mind's eye, I can still see Goodman's great band of 1937-'38 with the "Biting Brass' trumpet section with Chris Griffin sitting between Harry James and Ziggy Elman. Murray Pfeffer

All About Jazz
Griffin House
Chris Griffin RIP

Billy Bauer

The guitarist Billy Bauer has died in New York on 17th June 2005, aged 89.

Basil Kirchin

The bandleader, drummer and film composer Basil Kirchin has died, on June 18th, 2005, aged 77, after a long illness.

Basil Kirchin

The news has reached us of the passing away of Bridget, beloved wife of the tenor saxophonist, composer and songwriter Duncan Lamont, after a long illness, on May 27th, 2005. The thoughts and prayers of all of us will be with Duncan in these sad and trying times.

Benny Bailey

The trumpeter Benny Bailey has died on 14th April, 2005 in Amsterdam, aged 79.

Jazzed in Cleveland
Jazz Review

Search this site for many more memories of Benny

Percy Heath has died on 29th April, 2005, aged 81.

Jimmy Woode has died in New Jersey, aged 76


Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen has died, aged 58

Larry Bunker, a drummer who worked with such film composers as Henry Mancini, Alfred Newman, Miklos Rosza, Jerry Goldsmith, Johnny Mandel and John Williams, as well as jazz legends Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Art Pepper, Gerry Mulligan and Barney Kessel, died March 8 at Queen of Angels-Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center of complications from a stroke. He was 76. He also served as a timpanist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and performed on more than 30 Academy Awards programs, including the 77th in February. A native of Long Beach, Calif., he started playing with bassist Howard Rumsey at the famous Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach in the early 1950s.He was a member of Peggy Lee's band before making his way into film work with "Stalag 17" in 1953. His last film credit was "The Incredibles" last year.

Photo: Music Farm

Larry with Terry Gibbs

Toots Camarata has died, aged 91
The Mercury News
Los Angeles Times (photo)

Robert Farnon

The composer Robert Farnon has died in Guernsey, Channel Islands, aged 87.

The Robert Farnon Society
Tribute by Dick O'Connor

A Memorial Service was held on Sunday, 24th July, 2005 in St. Paul's Church, Covent Garden

Stan Levey

The drummer Stan Levey has died in Van Nuys, California, aged 79.

Los Angeles Times

Photo courtesy of Bernhard Castiglioni Drummerworld

Ronnie Horler

The trumpeter Ronnie Horler has died in Hampshire, aged 84.

Top trumpet

Wolfgang Kowatsch

The composer, arranger, pianist and bandleader Wolfgang Kowatsch has died in Neunkirchen, Germany, aged 78.


Jimmy Smith

The jazz organist Jimmy Smith has died, aged 79.

Bob Efford reports on Ken Posten's series of Maynard Ferguson concerts in Los Angeles.

...he was probably the only trumpet player in the world that could do what he did then. Now on this concert we had four or five trumpet men who each played his solos, and on the other concerts there were quite a few more who did likewise, made all the tougher by the fact that Maynard was sitting in the front row of the audience all the time.

Bob Efford Newsletter

Artie Shaw

The clarinettist and bandleader Artie Shaw has died in Los Angeles, aged 94.

Press Telegram
abc news
Preserving jazz history

New York Times

The Funeral

The drummer Frank Isola has died in Detroit, aged 79.
Dobbin's Den
The trumpeter Danny Hayes has died in New York, aged 58.
The bassist Bob Maize has died in Burbank, aged 59.
Jazz Review
Composer Cy Coleman has died, aged 75.
Chicago Sun Times
Alasdair Steven in The Scotsman
Film scorer Michel Colombier has died, aged 65

Pete Jolly

The pianist Pete Jolly has died in Pasadena, California, on November 10th, 2004 aged 72.

Bruce Crowther Tribute


Photo: Skip Bolen

Joe Bushkin

The pianist Joe Bushkin has died, aged 87.

News Telegraph
New York Times

Photo: Rahav Segev

Bill Eyden

The drummer Bill Eyden has died on October 15th, 2004, aged 74..

Procol Harum
The Musicians' Olympus


Gordon Brisker

The saxophonist and teacher Gordon Brisker has died on September 12th, 2004 in Blue Ash, Cincinnati, aged 66.

Peter Bronson in Cincinnati Enquirer

Tony Mottola

The guitarist Tony Mottola has died in Denville, New Jersey, aged 86.


Illinois Jacquet

The tenor saxophonist Illinois Jacquet has died on 22nd July, 2004 in New York, aged 81.

CBS News
Down Beat

James Williams

The pianist James Williams has died on July 2oth, 2004 in New York, aged 51.

Jazz Corner

Sasha Distel

The French singer Sacha Distel has died in Rayol-Canadel aged 71.

BBC News

Lennie Bush

The British bass player Lennie Bush has died on June 15th, 2004, aged 77.

Lennie Bush, master of the correct, steadfast timekeeping and melodic support (I am constantly reminded of the great Ray Brown)
Ken Rattenbury


Ray Charles

Ray Charles has died on 10th June, 2004 in Beverley Hills, California aged 73.

Autobiography on Newsday
The Scotsman
Many other tributes on Google
Rags to Riches

Red Kelly

The bassist Red Kelly has died of cancer on the 9th June, 2004, in Tacoma, aged 76.

Thomas "Red" Kelly played bass in the 1950s and '60s with Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, Harry James, Doc Severinsen and Maynard Ferguson; worked with Frank Sinatra, Charlie Parker and Billie Holiday, among many others.

The Olympian
Tacoma News Tribune
Seattle Times

Red Kelly with bassist
Pancho Angiano

Elvin Jones

The drummer Elvin Jones has died, on the 18th May, 2004, of heart failure in New York, aged 76.

His main achievement was the creation of what might be called a circle of sound, a continuum in which no beat of the bar was necessarily indicated by any specific accent, yet the overall feeling became a tremendously dynamic and rhythmically important part of the whole group. Leonard Feather

San Diego Union Tribune

Photo: Associated Press

Lloyd Ulyate

The trombonist Lloyd Ulyate has died, on May 13th, 2004, in Westwood, California, aged 77. Prolific studio musician Lloyd played with Nelson Riddle, Billy May, David Rose, Percy Faith, Jerry Fielding, Max Steiner, Alfred Newman, John Williams, Victor Young, Jerry Goldsmith, Bernard Hermann, Elmer Bernstein, Franz Waxman, Henry Mancini and Igor Stravinsky, among others.

Trombone Page of the World
International Trombone Association

Photo: Debbie Boltinghouse

John LaPorta

The saxophonist, arranger, composer and educator John LaPorta has died, on May 12, 2004 in Sarasota, Florida, aged 84.

John was revered by musicians everywhere. During his career he played and recorded with Woody Herman, Herb Pomeroy, Kenny Clarke, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, Lester Young, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Buddy Rich, Max Roach, Fats Navarro, Oscar Pettiford, Lennie Tristano
and Gunther Schuller. Classically trained, he has performed with Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky, Leopold Stokowski and many times with the Boston Pops.


Barney Kessel

The guitarist Barney Kessel has died, on May 6th, 2004, in San Diego at the age of 80.

San Diego Union Tribune
The Scotsman

Les Tomkins interviews

Claude (Fiddler) Williams

The jazz violinist Claude Williams has died in Kansas City, aged 96

Williams began his professional career playing with greats like Ben Webster and Lester Young as he explored the possibilities of the jazz violin in the late 1920s. In 1936, he preceded Freddie Green as Basie's first recorded guitarist and was voted Best Guitarist of the Year in a Downbeat national readers' poll. -- NEW YORK TIMES

The New York Times
Hot Jazz NYC
All About Jazz
Jazz Times

Harry Babbitt

Harry Babbitt, the Kay Kyser orchestra lead vocalist who sang on such Kyser hits as "Three Little Fishies," "On A Slow Boat to China" and "Who Wouldn't Love You," has died. He was 90.

Blog of Death
Kay Kyser Net

March 24th 2004. A report has just been received that the saxophonist George Hunter has died. No details are available at the moment.

John Mayer

The composer John Mayer has died after being knocked down by a car in London. He was 73.

The Telegraph
Keith Emerson
iCBirmingham - Maestro dies
Ken Hunt in The Guardian
A Minstrel in Spain

When the violinist and composer John Mayer died recently, Britain lost an adventurous explorer of the shifting sands between ethnic, classical and improvised music. BBCi

Joe Harriott and John Mayer
Photo: Michael Joseph

Max Harris

The pianist/composer Max Harris has died in London, aged 85.

Arguably the best-remembered TV series for which he provided the music is the sit-com Open All Hours; but Bombay Duckling (the Kipling Theme, from BBC TV's feature Kipling) and the Gurney Slade theme and Hat and Cane, both from The Strange World of Gurney Slade all achieved publication in piano versions. Philip L. Scowcroft, Classical Music Web

Read about Max in Ron's Pages

Jack Sperling

The drummer Jack Sperling has died on Thursday 26th February, 2004 in Los Angeles. He was 81.

The best drummer? Jack Sperling. He did maybe 40 albums with me, in California and New York. Just a fantastic drummer. He's kinda semi-retired. Jack was almost ten years older than me - I'm going on 72, Jack would be 82 now. He did a lot of stuff with a lot of big bands around the country - Les Brown for years. He did a lot of studio work. His stuff with me is just phenomenal. Pete Fountain in an interview with Bunny Matthews

Los Angeles Times

With Tex Beneke in 1946
Photo courtesy of Garry Stevens

Billy May
Pinky Winters tells of a lovely afternoon at the Los Angeles Musicians Union where a horde of fellow musicians and friends paid tribute to Billy May.

Alvino Rey

The bandleader Alvino Rey has died on Tuesday, February 24th, 2004 at his home in Salt Lake City. He was 95.
The Salt Lake Tribune
Los Angeles Daily News

Preston Love

Preston Love has died in Omaha on Thursday, February 12th, 2004, aged 82. Omaha's beloved jazzman and music historian played with the best - Count Basie, Ray Charles and Billie Holiday.

Interview with Tim MacMahan
Kristi Wright in the Omaha World Herald

Frank Mantooth

The pianist, composer, teacher Frank Mantooth has died on Friday 30th January, 2004 in Garden Grove, Kansas, aged 56.

New Trier Jazz Reports
Frank Mantooth Website
Jazz Houston

Photo: Frank Mantooth Website

Milt Bernhart

The trombonist Milt Bernhart has died on Friday 23rd January, 2004 in Glendale, California, aged 77.

Obituary in All About Jazz
Myrna Oliver in Los Angeles Times

Billy May

The trumpeter, composer and bandleader Billy May has died on Wednesday, January 21st, 2004 in San Juan Capistrano, aged 87.

Jeremiah Marques in Miami Herald

Tribute by Pinky Winters

There will never be another Billy May... Stan Freberg

John Guerin

The great jazz-rock drummer, John Guerin, formerly of the BYRDS,has died on Wednesday, January 7th, 2004 aged 64.

Photo: BYRDS News

Hans Koller

The tenor saxophonist Hans Koller, who rose to world fame and played with some of America's jazz legends, has died on Monday, 22nd December 2003 in Vienna. He was 82.

Koller, who also made his mark as a jazz composer, played with such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Lee Konitz, Zoot Sims and Stan Kenton.
All About Jazz
Jazz Thing

Maynard Ferguson

Maynard Ferguson was 75 last May! Mike Kaiser was there. Read all about it, then stay awhile and look at Mike's wonderful Website.

All That Jazz - Maynard
Maynard Ferguson Tribute page - great photos

Webster Young

The trumpeter Webster Young has died in Vancouver, Washington, aged 71.

Michael Gillispie at
Adam Bernstein in The Washington Post
Russell Carson in Jazz News

Photo by Michael Gillispie

Don Lamond

The drummer and bandleader Don Lamond has died in Orlando, Florida, aged 82.

New York Times
Bernhard Castiglioni's Drummerworld
Jim Abbott in Orlando Sentinel

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