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Subject: Re: Bill Berry, Big Band, jazz legend

NY Times obit
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Date Posted: November 19, 2002 7:54:51 EDT
In reply to: died in Los Angeles 's message, "Bill Berry, Big Band, jazz legend" on November 18, 2002 7:52:54 EDT

Bill Berry, a jazz trumpeter and big band leader who performed with Duke Ellington and Woody Herman, died here on Wednesday. He was 72.

The cause was lung cancer, his wife, Betty Berry, said.

Mr. Berry performed in the big bands of Herman and Maynard Ferguson before joining Ellington's band for three years in 1961.

Ellington was a major influence on Mr. Berry, who went on to play and teach music in a career that spanned more than 50 years. For several years, Mr. Berry was musical director of the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Born William Richard Berry in Benton Harbor, Mich., he spent his early years traveling with his parents, who were on the road in bands themselves. By 5, Mr. Berry could play the piano. Later he turned to the trumpet and traveled through the Midwest before serving for four years in the Air Force.

Mr. 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 big band in New York. He joined Merv Griffin's television show in 1965 and was featured on the show for the next 15 years.

When Mr. Griffin moved to Los Angeles, Mr. Berry followed him and re-formed his group as the L.A. Big Band in 1971.

He continued leading the band part time for the next 30 years while also touring with Louie Bellson and doing studio work.

Mr. Berry is survived by his wife; a son, William Berry of Englewood, Colo.; and a daughter, Lisa McLaughlin, of Tallmadge, Ohio.

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