The legendary sideman played with such icons as Miles Davis, Lee Morgan and George Coleman.
Legendary jazz pianist Harold Mabern, a master of the blues-inflected post-bop and hard-bop . styles, died on Tuesday evening at the age of 83. His passing, the result of a heart attack, was announced by his New York-based label Smoke Sessions Records.
A product of the 1950s Memphis music scene, Mabern attended the city’s Manassas High School, whose music program also produced the likes of Frank Strozier, Charles Lloyd, Booker Little, Hank Crawford, Isaac Hayes and saxophonist George Coleman. Mabern and Coleman wound up becoming close friends who collaborated with Mabern numerous times, including on Coleman's forthcoming album, The Quartet.
Born March 20, 1936, Mabern was heavily influenced by Memphis jazz greats -- most notably pianist Phineas Newborn Jr. -- but he ultimately made his name in Chicago, where he began backing tenor sax players Johnny Griffin, Gene Ammons and Clifford Jordon and playing in hard bop group MJT +3 alongside fellow Memphis musicians Frank Strozier and Walter Perkins.