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Marchel Ivery, Texan Tenor Saxophonist, Dies at 69

Marchel Ivery, a tenor saxophonist based in the Dallas area, died in his hometown on October 30th after a short illness. He was 69.

Although Ivery never reached the level of fame enjoyed by some of the Lone Star State’s other tenors, such as Illinois Jacquet, Arnett Cobb and David “Fathead” Newman, he was well respected at the regional level.

Born in 1938, Ivery began as a trumpet player but switched to sax after hearing Charlie Parker. While in the Army during the 1950s, he began playing with pianist Bud Powell. In the ’60s, he spent considerable time working with pianist Red Garland. Ivery’s bebop-based style was also put to use by drummer Art Blakey, who hired him in the ’80s.

Ivery didn’t record under his own name until 1994’s Marchel’s Mode (on Leaning House Records), which featured Dallas pianist Cedar Walton. Ivery recorded two further albums for Leaning House, a collaboration with organist Joey DeFrancesco in 1997 and one simply titled 3 two years later. Two tracks by Ivery and his quintet also appear on the album South Dallas Pop Festival: Live 1970.