Sil Austin

Born September 17, 1929 in Dunnellon (Florida) Died September 1, 2001 at Riverdale, Georgia. Although his greatest successes were in a commercial vein, Sil Austin admired great jazz saxophonists such as Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins and Sonny Stitt. He was a showman and had a rich, blues-inflected, big tenor voice that was well suited to blues and hard-driving rhythms. Born Sylvester Austin in 1939, he learned to play the piano at 12 years old. In 1945, he won the Ted Mack Amateur Hour, St. Petersburg, Florida. He played “Danny Boy”. He was awarded a Mercury Records contract for his performance. After that, he moved to New York where he studied at the Juilliard School of Music. He briefly played with Roy Eldridge and Tiny Bradshaw between 1952 and 1954, before establishing his own touring company. He recorded more than 30 albums for Mercury and had many Top 40 hits, including “Danny Boy”, “Slow Walk” (“his signature tune), and “My Mother’s Eyes” (“his pop hit). His wife, Vernice Austin, of 52 years, is his survivor. He died from prostrate cancer. Vernice Austin, his two daughters, nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. from

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