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Jazz and Blues Historian Chris Albertson Dies at 87

The Iceland-born writer penned the definitive biography of Bessie Smith

Chris Albertson
Chris Albertson in 2006 (photo: Bernard Weston)

Chris Albertson, a jazz and blues writer, historian, broadcaster, and record producer best known for his documentation of the life and work of Bessie Smith, died at his home in Manhattan on April 24. He was 87 years old.

His death was confirmed by his friend Gary King, who found Albertson’s body, to the New York Times.

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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.