Jazz Veteran Illinois Jacquet Dies
Jazz tenor sax legend Illinois Jacquet died today (July 22) in New York after suffering a heart attack. He was 81.Jazz tenor sax legend Illinois Jacquet died today (July 22) in New York after suffering a heart attack. He was 81.
Born in Broussard, La., Jacquet was raised in Houston. As a teenager, he joined Lionel Hampton's big band, and made his mark in 1942 with his featured number "Flying Home." In 1944, Jacquet was featured in Norman Granz's first "Jazz at the Philharmonic" concert at Philharmonic Hall in Los Angeles; the saxophonist's tough, ecstatic solo style made him a fixture at Granz's shows for years to come.
After appearing in the famed 1944 jazz documentary "Jammin' the Blues," Jacquet left Hampton's band to play with Cab Calloway and Count Basie, but he soon started fronting his own combo.
Jacquet's raucous saxophone work created the template for the so-called "Texas tenor" style, and became a model for an entire school of jazz, R&B and rock'n'roll sax players, including Joe Houston, Paul Williams and Big Jay McNeely. He recorded extensively from the '50s through the '80s for such labels as Savoy, Aladdin, Verve, Mercury, Roulette, Epic, Chess, Atlantic and Black & Blue.
Jacquet remained active as a touring performer through the end of his life; he played his last date at Lincoln Center in New York just six days before his death. On June 22, he received an honorary doctorate from the Juilliard School of Music.
He is survived by his companion Carol Scherick, his daughter Pamela and a granddaughter.