Buddy DeFranco is a member of the American Jazz Hall of Fame
Renowned jazz clarinettist Buddy DeFranco, known for working with Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday and other well-known musicians, has died aged 91.
DeFranco’s family said the musician died on Wednesday evening at a Florida hospital.
His wife, Joyce, said his health had been poor in recent years.
DeFranco, a member of the American Jazz Hall of Fame, performed at venues around the world for 75 years and also recorded many albums.
The musician conducted the Glenn Miller Orchestra for eight years from 1966 to 1974.
He was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master and and later a Living Jazz Legend in a Kennedy Center ceremony.
And DeFranco won the Playboy All-Star award for top jazz clarinettist in the world 16 times.
An annual Buddy DeFranco festival is held at the University of Montana
“We have received condolences from around the world,” DeFranco’s wife told AP.
She said her husband’s influence on music will last long beyond his lifetime.
Leading jazz clarinettist Ken Peplowski said: “Buddy DeFranco almost single-handedly was the clarinettist who moved the harmonic and rhythmic language forward from where Benny Goodman left off into the much more adventurous territory of bebop and beyond, while never forgetting his roots in swing music.
“He was also unfailingly kind and supportive to every other clarinettist who came after him.”
Other top music stars he played with included Art Tatum, Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett.
Originally named Boniface Ferdinand Leonardo De Franco, the musician was born in Camden, New Jersey, but raised in south Philadelphia. He learned to play the mandolin at five, and took up the clarinet four years later.
Source:: BBC Entertainment