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Saxophonist Lucky Thompson Dies

Saxophonist Lucky Thompson died on Saturday after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 81.

Born Eli Thompson on June 16, 1924 in Columbia, S.C., Thompson moved to New York in 1943 and soon began to play tenor saxophone with musicians such as Lionel Hampton, Don Redman, Billy Eckstine, Count Basie and Lucky Millinder. After leaving Basie’s orchestra in 1945, Thompson moved to the West Coast, where he was hired by Dizzy Gillespie as a substitute for Charlie Parker.

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