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Melba Liston dies at 73

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Melba Liston, a jazz trombonist, composer and arranger who worked with bands led by Dizzy Gillespie and Quincy Jones, died Friday after suffering a series of strokes. She was 73.

The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz called Ms. Liston "one of the most accomplished trombonists of her generation."

Ms. Liston was forced to stop trombone playing in 1985 after a stroke left her partially paralyzed, but she continued to arrange music with her longtime friend, pianist Randy Weston. The two shared billing in 1993 on their critically acclaimed album "Volcano Blues."

While in her teens, Ms. Liston played in youth bands and joined Gerald Wilson's band as a trombonist and arranger. When the group disbanded in 1948, she joined Gillespie.

She briefly left jazz for a job at the Los Angeles Board of Education, but joined Gillespie again in 1955 for a State Department tour of the Middle East and Asia. She also worked with one of Gillespie's trumpeters, Quincy Jones.

In the 1970s, she taught in Jamaica at the University of the West Indies and the Jamaica Institute of Music. She returned to the United States in the early 1980s.

Associated Press: 4/28/99

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Melba Liston
  • Event Date: 4/28/1999
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