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Guitarist Bill DeArango Dies

Guitarist Bill DeArango died Dec. 26 at the A.M. McGregor Nursing Home in East Cleveland at age 85. He had suffered dementia for about eight years and had been in the nursing home since 1999.

DeArango was one of the last links to the bebop era of the 1940s and ’50s, having been a regular player in Ben Webster’s group and recorded with Sarah Vaughan, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, among others.

He is remembered by his peers as both an influential guitar player in his work with single-line solos and as a mentor, as saxophonist Joe Lovano told

After several recording sessions in the 1940s and acting as an integral figure 52nd Street, DeArango returned to his home in Cleveland in 1947. He remained there, save for some time in New York late 1970s and early ’80s. His time in Cleveland was primarily spent owning a record store, although he did perform part-time and released the critically acclaimed Anything Went on GM in 1993.

In the past decade, DeArango occasionally performed at the Barking Spider in Cleveland’s University Circle and was awarded the Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland Legend of Jazz in 2003.

Originally Published