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Illinois Jacquet and His All Stars
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Illinois Jacquet 1922 - 2004
This record made in Los Angeles, California during July 1945 fettures Russell Jacquet, trumpet; Henry Coker, trombone; Illinois Jacquet, tenor sax; Arthur Dennis, contrabass; Sir Charles Thompson, piano; Ulysses Livingston, guitar; Billy Hadnott, bass; and Johnny Otis, drums.
Jean-Baptiste Illinois Jacquet (October 31, 1922 - July 22, 2004) was a pioneer of the honking tenor saxophone that became a regular feature of jazz playing and a hallmark of early rock and roll, Jacquet was a skilled and melodic improviser, both on up-tempo tunes and ballads. He doubled on the bassoon, one of only a few jazz musicians to use the instrument.
Jacquet was born to a Sioux mother and a Creole father in Broussard, Louisiana and moved to Houston, Texas, as an infant, and was raised there as one of six siblings. His father, Gilbert Jacquet, was a part-time bandleader. As a child he performed in his father's band, primarily on the alto saxophone. His older brother Russell Jacquet played trumpet and his brother Linton played drums.
At 15, Jacquet began playing with the Milton Larkin Orchestra, a Houston-area dance band. In 1939, he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he met Nat King Cole. Jacquet would sit in with the trio on occasion. In 1940, Cole introduced Jacquet to Lionel Hampton who had returned to California and was putting together a big band. Hampton wanted to hire Jacquet, but asked the young Jacquet to switch to tenor saxophone.
In 1942, at age 19, Jacquet soloed on the Hampton Orchestra's recording of "Flying Home", one of the very first times a honking tenor sax was heard on record. The record became a hit and is recognized as the first R&B saxophone solo.
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