PANAMA CITY, Florida (AP) – Renowned jazz clarinetist Buddy DeFranco (photo below) – who collaborated with Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday and other top singers and musicians of his era – has died at the age of 91, his family said Friday.
DeFranco’s family told The Associated Press that the famed musician died Wednesday evening at a Florida hospital.
DeFranco’s wife, Joyce, said he had been in declining health in recent years.
DeFranco, a member of the American Jazz Hall of Fame, performed at venues around the world for 75 years and recorded with musicians including Sinatra, Holliday, Art Tatum, Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett. He conducted the Glenn Miller Orchestra for eight years from 1966 to 1974.
“Buddy DeFranco almost single-handedly was the clarinetist 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.