Famed US jazz clarinetist Buddy DeFranco dead at 91

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Acclaimed American jazz clarinetist Buddy DeFranco has died at the age of 91, according to his website, following a long career and numerous collaborations with the genre's biggest names.

DeFranco died on Wednesday in the US state of Florida, the website said.

He helped spearhead jazz's move towards bebop, veering away from the traditional swing style.

DeFranco was a member of the American Jazz Hall of Fame and was recognised as a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts, one of the genre's highest honours.

Born on February 17, 1923 in Camden, New Jersey, DeFranco grew up in Philadelphia and started playing the clarinet at nine years old.

He was a conductor at the Glenn Miller Orchestra from 1966 to 1974, and played with some of jazz's most impressive names, including Art Tatum, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.

DeFranco recorded more than 150 albums, played at venues around the world and founded his own eponymous jazz festival at the University of Montana.

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