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Bassist and Educator Chris White Dies at 78

Played with Dizzy Gillespie, Nina Simone, others

Bassist, producer, arranger and educator Chris White, whose recording and performance credits included work with as Duke Ellington, Eubie Blake, Dizzy Gillespie, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Nina Simone, Mary Lou Williams, Billy Taylor, Kenny Barron, Chick Corea, Teddy Wilson, Sarah Vaughan, Ramsey Lewis, James Moody, Quincy Jones, Carmen McRae, Billy Cobham and others, died Nov. 2. Details regarding the cause and place of death were unavailable.

Born Christopher Wesley White in Harlem on July 6, 1936, and raised in Brooklyn, White turned professional in his teens and later graduated from the Manhattan School of Music. He went on to earn a Masters of Education degree from the University of Massachusetts.

In the 1950s, White played with pianist Cecil Taylor. In the early ’60s he accompanied Simone and later that decade, Gillespie. He founded the group Jazz Survivors and was a member of Prism. White released his only solo album The Chris White Project, in 1992.

White was the first executive director of the Jazzmobile project in New York and the first director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University. He also founded the MUSE jazz program at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and was a faculty member at Bloomfield College in New Jersey.

Originally Published