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Norris Turney Dies at 79

Norris Turney, one time reed player and flutist for Duke Ellington, passed away Wednesday, January 17th. Turney, who spent four years with the Ellington Orchestra after sitting in for a sick Johnny Hodges, had been ailing from liver disease and finally succumbed to the disease.

Turney’s career spanned over thirty years, having played with Wynton Marsalis, Billy Eckstine, Frank Foster, Ray Charles, and playing in Broadway orchestras for shows such as “Raisin, and “Ain’t Mishbehavin.”

Turney’s own works like his dedication to Johnny Hodges, “Checkered Hat,” and his 1995 album Big, Sweet and Blue won him recognition and praise among fans, critics and peers. An accomplished multi-reed player and alto sax specialist, Turney was recognized with the Jazz Masters Award in 1994.

Turney died at the age of 79 in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio, his wife at his side.

Originally Published