Saxophonist Hank Crawford died Jan. 29 at the age of 74. The Memphis-born musician backed B.B. King and Ray Charles before going solo. He later became the musical director for Charles' band. Fresh Air remembers Crawford with a 1998 interview.
Frank Morgan, a bebop-jazz sax player who modeled his playing style after Charlie Parker's, died Dec. 14 at age 73. After some early successes, Morgan succumbed to heroin addiction, which led to 30 years of crime and imprisonment — and an absence from the stage. But while he was in jail, Morgan did play with other inmates; most famously, he and Art Pepper formed a small ensemble at San Quentin. The Washington Post reports: "Once asked why so many jazz musicians became addicts, [Morgan] replied: 'It's about being hip.
He died earlier this month. Lacy was considered "the foremost interpreter of Thelonius Monk" and in fact trained and performed with Monk when he was in his mid-20s. Lacy was also known as the "father of the modern soprano saxophone." (This interview first aired Nov. 20, 1997.)
Getz recently passed away after a bout with liver cancer. We remember him with a rebroadcast of an interview from last year. Getz talks about dropping out of school and going on the road at 15. He learned while traveling and playing with other musicians.