Illinois Jacquet, a legendary tenor saxophonist who played with nearly every jazz and blues luminary of his time and whose standout solo on Lionel Hampton's "Flying Home'' became a rhythm and blues standard, has died. He was 81.
Jacquet died of a heart attack Thursday at his New York City home, said longtime friend and collaborator Dan Frank.
During a career spanning eight decades, Jacquet played with such music greats as Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Jo Jones, Buddy Rich, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and Gene Krupa.
Born Jean-Baptiste Jacquet in Broussard, La., his mother was a Sioux Indian and his father, Gilbert Jacquet, a French-Creole railroad worker and part-time musician.
When he was 19, he played the tenor saxophone solo on "Flying Home'' with Hampton. He likened the performance to a religious experience. "Something was with me at that moment,'' he said. "It all came together for some reason.''
Jacquet, who defined the jazz style called screeching, was known as much for his trademark pork pie hat as the innovative playing style.
If you want to know more about Jacquet, watch Texas Tenor: The Illinois Jacquet Story.
Those looking for the cinetrix should be advised that she'll be listening to Jacquet's versions of "Stella by Starlight" and "Satin Doll" tonight with the lights dimmed.