Ira Sullivan

Ira Sullivan was an American jazz trumpeter, flugelhornist, flautist, saxophonist, composer, born May 1, 1931, Washington, D.C., United States. He died September 21, 2020. He was an active musician since the 1950s and worked frequently with Lin Halliday and Red Rodney. May 1, 1931, Sullivan was born in Washington, D.C. He learned to play the trumpet from his father at age 3 1/2 and his mother taught him the saxophone at age 3. In 1950s Chicago, Sullivan played both with Lester Young, Wardell Grey, Roy Eldridge and gained a reputation for being a formidable bebop soloist. After briefly playing with Art Blakey (1956), and learning alto and baritone saxophones, Sullivan moved to Florida in the 1960s. Sullivan played in the Miami area for many years, often in schools or churches, despite his reluctance of traveling. Jaco Pastorius, Pat Metheny and Pat Metheny were local players who helped Sullivan to learn and expand his musical roots. They also introduced him to John Coltrane’s music as well as elements of jazz rock. Sullivan made the move to New York in 1980 to join Red Rodney’s quintet, which included flute and soprano saxophone. Sullivan and Rodney resisted the temptation to play their youth music and instead worked on new material, encouraging young talent to create stimulating music. Ira, along with his long-time friend and collaborator Stu Katz (jazz pianist and vibraphonist), co-led a multinight performance at Joe Segal’s The Jazz Showcase in Chicago. A Family Affair:Live At Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase is a live recording of some of these performances. It was released in 2011. Ira Sullivan and jazz vocalist Erin McDougald performed together in concert for a live-recorded concert recorded at 35th Street Studios in 2014. This concert featured Rob Block, Kelly Sill, drummer Charles Heath, and Marc Berner, multi-reed player. Each summer, Sullivan taught at the Young Musicians Camp at the University of Miami. Ira Sullivan, 89, died from metastatic pancreatic carcinoma in his Miami home on September 21st 2020. Amazing Grace was Ira Sullivan’s signature musical composition, which he closed every performance with for many decades. The jazz community created a LOVE LETTER TO IRA SULLIVAN in the week that followed Sullivan’s death. It included more than 40 performances of Amazing Grace. From Wikipedia

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