*Grammy-nominated jazz musician Buddy Collette, a master of multiple instruments who has played with a long list of jazz greats, died Sept. 19 in a Los Angeles hospital following a respiratory ailment, his daughter Cheryl Collette-White tells the New York Times. He was 89.
The skilled saxophonist, flutist, clarinetist and bandleader played with the likes of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole.
He made his own mark playing for a string of jazz groups and big bands featured on film and television in the U.S., and broke a racial barrier when he became the only African-American in the band for the Groucho Marx show, “You Bet Your Life.”
Collette was also a leader in the struggle to eliminate segregation in the American Federation of Musicians, and in 1953, the black and white Los Angeles-based union members finally merged the organization.
In 2001, his recording “Live From the Nation’s Capital” was nominated for a Grammy.
In addition to his daughter Cheryl, Collette is survived by two other daughters, Veda and Crystal; a son, Zan; eight grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.