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Subject: Bill Berry, Big Band, jazz legend

died in Los Angeles
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Date Posted: November 18, 2002 7:52:54 EDT

Jazz legend Bill Berry, a Big Band leader and trumpeter who performed with Duke Ellington and Woody Herman and on Merv Griffin's television show, died of lung cancer Nov. 13. He was 72.

Berry performed in the Big Bands of Herman and Maynard Ferguson before joining Ellington's band for a three-year stint in 1961.

Ellington had a profound influence on Berry, who went on to play and teach his music in a career that spanned more than 50 years. Berry also was musical director for several years of the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Born William Richard "Bill" Berry in Benton Harbor, Mich., he spent his early years traveling with his parents who were on the road in bands. By age 5, he could play the piano.

He later turned to the trumpet and traveled through the Midwest before serving four years in the U.S. Air Force.

Berry studied at the Cincinnati College of Music and attended Berklee College of Music in Boston.

He later played with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis orchestra and led his own New York Big Band. He joined Merv Griffin's television show in 1965 and was featured on the show for the next 15 years.

In 1999, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Berklee.

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Re: Bill Berry, Big Band, jazz legendNY Times obitNovember 19, 2002 7:54:51 EDT

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