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Harold Mabern 1936-2019

As leader, sideman, and accompanist, the big-handed man from Memphis carved a permanent place for himself in the jazz piano pantheon

Harold Mabern
Harold Mabern (photo: Jimmy Katz)

Harold Mabern, a jazz pianist, composer, and educator of indomitable energy and irrepressible good humor who came out of Memphis, Tennessee, to become one of the world’s premier hard bop musicians, died late on the night of September 17 in New Jersey. He was 83 years old.

His death was announced on September 19 by his record label, Smoke Sessions Records. The cause of death was a heart attack.

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Originally Published

Michael J. West

Michael J. West is a jazz journalist in Washington, D.C. In addition to his work on the national and international jazz scenes, he has been covering D.C.’s local jazz community since 2009. He is also a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, and as such spends most days either hunkered down at a screen or inside his very big headphones. He lives in Washington with his wife and two children.