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Jimmy Giuffre, Clarinetist Who Bridged Eras, Dies at 86

Jimmy Giuffre, who brought the clarinet from the big band era into the realm of free jazz during a lengthy career, died April 24th of pneumonia and complications of Parkinson’s. He was 86.

Giuffre was born in Dallas on April 26, 1921 and began playing clarinet at age 9. During high school and college he performed with local bands, and he continued to do so in the Air Force Band. In the 1940s he worked with several popular big bands, including stints with Boyd Raeburn, Jimmy Dorsey, Buddy Rich and Woody Herman. With Herman Giuffre composed “Four Brothers,” which became a jazz classic.

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