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Jimmy Knepper Dies

Trombonist and composer Jimmy Knepper, who came to the attention of the public as a member of bassist Charles Mingus’ groups of the late ’50s and early ’60s, died Saturyda, June 14 at his daughter’s home in Triadelphia, W.V. of complications risen out of Parkinson’s Disease. He was 75.

Born James Minter Knepper on Nov. 22, 1927, the trombonist grew up in Los Angeles and began playing music professionally at 15. Throughout the ’50s Knepper played in big bands, including those led by Charlie Barnet, Woody Herman and Claude Thornhill, and in 1957 he landed in Charles Mingus’ band, where he replaced Willie Dennis. Knepper continued playing with Mingus on and off until 1962, when the volatile bassist punched Knepper in the mouth, broke one of his teeth and ruined his embouchure. Knepper permanently lost the top octave of his range as a result.

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