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Illinois Jacquet
Famous Creoles
Illinois Jacquet




Tenor saxophonist Illinois jacquet, who defined the jazz style called screeching and played with jazz legends including Lionel Hampton, Count Basie and Cab Calloway during a career spanning eight decades, died Thursday. He was 81.

Jacquet, who was known as much for his trademark porkpie hat as the innovative playing style, died of a heart attack in his Queens home, said longtime friend and collaborator Dan Frank.Jacquet played with nearly every jazz and blues legend of his time, including Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Jo Jones, Buddy Rich, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and Gene Krupa.

He played tenor sax in the Basie and Calloway bands and since 1981 performed with his own band, the Illinois Jacquet Big Band.President Clinton, an amateur saxophonist, taped Jacquet to play at his inaugural ball in January 1993.

The duo jammed on the White House lawn, playing “C-Jam Blues.” Jacquet also performed for Presidents Carter and Reagan.During his heyday in the 1940’s and 1950’s, Jacquet recorded more than 300 original compositions, including three of his biggest hits, “Black Velvet,” “Robbins’ Nest” and “Port of Rico.”He was born Jean-Baptist Jacquet in Broussard. His mother was a Sioux Indian and his father, Gilbert Jacquet, a French-Creole railroad worker and part-time musician.

The nickname Illinois came from the Indian word “Illiniwek,” which means superior men. He dropped the name Jean-Batiste when the family moved from Louisiana to Houston because there were so few French-speaking people there.

Illinois Jacquet Image Gallery

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