Illinois Jacquet (Jean Baptiste Illinois Jacquet)
BiographyBroussard, Louisiana, USA
Jacquet's mother was a Sioux Indian and his father was a French-Creole railroad worker and part-time musician. Jacquet was one of six children, and began performing at age 3, tap dancing to the sounds of his father's band. He took the nickname Illinois from the Indian word "Illiniwek," meaning superior men. When he was 19, he played the tenor saxophone solo on Lionel Hampton's "Flying Home," and it became a rhythm and blues standard. He became a legendary tenor saxophonist who played with nearly every jazz and blues luminary of his time. Read more... Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Jo Jones, Buddy Rich, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and Gene Krupa. He defined the jazz style called 'screeching,' and was known as much for his trademark pork pie hat as the innovative playing style. During his heyday in the 1940s and 1950s, Jacquet recorded more than 300 original compositions and was given the nickname "The King" by Count Basie. In 1983, he became the first jazz musician to become artist-in-residence at Harvard University. He played "C-Jam Blues" with former President Bill Clinton, an amateur saxophonist, on the White House lawn during Clinton's inaugural ball in January 1993.