Home Entertainment Buddy DeFranco: Jazz clarinetist dies aged 91

Buddy DeFranco: Jazz clarinetist dies aged 91

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Buddy DeFranco, known for working with Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday and other well-known musicians, has died aged 91.

His family said the jazz clarinetist died on Christmas Eve at a Florida hospital.

His wife, Joyce, said his health had been poor in recent years.

Buddy 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 later a Living Jazz Legend in a Kennedy Center ceremony.Buddy DeFranco jazz clarinetist


Buddy DeFranco won the Playboy All-Star award for top jazz clarinetist in the world 16 times.

“We have received condolences from around the world,” Joyce DeFranco told AP.

She said her husband’s influence on music will last long beyond his lifetime.

Other top music stars Buddy DeFranco 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.

He began his career as a teenager in Philadelphia and he went on to play with some of the major bands of his era including ones led by Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie, Gene Krupa and Charlie Barnett.

Later, composer Nelson Riddle was so impressed by Buddy DeFranco he wrote the musical Cross Country Suite in 1958 for him.

Now, the annual Buddy DeFranco Jazz Festival is held each spring at the University of Montana.

His family have asked that contributions in his memory be given to the festival so it can continue.

Buddy DeFranco is survived by his wife, Joyce, and son Chad DeFranco.