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French Clarinetist Claude Luter Dies at 83

Claude Luter, the French clarinetist/soprano saxophonist who was a popular figure in postwar Paris, died there on Oct. 6. He was 83.

Luter picked up the trumpet after discovering New Orleans jazz in his adolescence, but quickly switched to clarinet and later, soprano sax. He began performing in Paris during the German occupation in the early ’40s, becoming a fixture at the Lorientais, a club at the epicenter of France’s cultural revival. Luter met and performed alongside Louis Armstrong in 1948, and was a frequent collaborator with Sidney Bechet. He also worked with Barney Bigard, Mezz Mezzrow and Boris Vian.

A solid performer in the traditional Bechet style, Luter only released about a half-dozen recordings as a leader and performed and recorded actively until a few years ago.

Originally Published