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Ruby Braff Dies

Ruby Braff, a cornetist who played mostly in the swing and Dixieland styles, died Sunday morning. Braff had recently returned to his home in Harwich, Mass. from England and was physically exhausted—Braff had been battling lung disease for years. He developed pneumonia and was treated at a Cape Cod hospital. Too weak thereafter for unassisted living, Braff checked into Liberty Commons Rehab Center in Chatham, Mass., on Cape Cod, where he died. He was 75.

Born Reuben Braff in Boston on Mar. 16, 1927, he was a self-taught musician with a gift for creating melodic phrases, especially in the instrument’s lower register. He began working in the 1940s at local nightclubs and parties. After playing with Edmond Hall’s big band from 1949-’53, Braff moved to New York City and began performing and recording with players like Vic Dickenson, Buck Clayton, Urbie Green, Bud Freeman and Benny Goodman. Though he was a respected musician, the last half of the 1950s were hard on Braff. His traditional sound was in conflict with the popular jazz sound of the day.

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