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Dodo Marmarosa and Huckle-Buck Williams Die

Bebop pianist Michael “Dodo” Marmarosa died September 17 of a heart attack in the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Pittsburgh. He was 76. Born in Pittsburgh on Dec. 12, 1925, Marmarosa began playing professionally at the age of 15 and went on to play with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Gene Krupa, Charlie Barnet and many others. His talent was extraordinary, and his exploits legendary. According to the New York Times, Barnet once said that Marmarosa pushed a piano off a third-story balcony one time just “to hear what chord it would make when it hit the ground.” Marmarosa was plagued by mental problems most likely related to a beating given him by sailors in Philadelphia in 1943, and his professional jazz career was short-lived. Despite his personal tragedies, Artie Shaw called Marmarosa “the greatest pianist I ever had in my band.” He is survived by two sisters.

Saxophonist Paul “Huckle-Buck” Williams died of a heart attack on September 14. He was 87. Born July 13, 1915 in Alabama, the saxophone player made his recording debut with King Porter in 1947. In 1949 Williams scored Savoy’s biggest hit ever with the R&B infused tune “The Huckle-Buck”. The song was based on Charlie Parker’s “Now’s the Time” and was even covered by Frank Sinatra. When it was originally released, Williams’ hit stayed at the top of the R&B charts for 14 weeks. Williams went on to play for the Atlantic Records house band and later led the Lloyd Price and James Brown orchestras. He is survived by his sons, Earl and Eric, and a daughter, Erin.

Originally Published