WASHINGTON, US - PIONEERING jazz performer and composer Jimmy Giuffre, whose distinctive avant-garde clarinet style drove a lengthy career that included working with legend Woody Herman, has died at age 86, US media reported.
Giuffre, a central figure in West Coast jazz best known for penning the big band classic 'Four Brothers' with Herman in 1947, died on Thursday in Pittsfield in the northeast state of Massachusetts, according to JazzTimes.com.
He died of pneumonia and complications from Parkinson's disease, it said.
A musician with multiple talents, Giuffre played the saxophone and flute, but it was his standout work on the clarinet which sealed his influential reputation. He took the then-conservative sounds of the clarinet into free-jazz territory and experimented with several different styles.
After many recordings and band incarnations in the 1940s and 50s, and an eventual recognition of his avant-garde style by critics, his output slowed in the early 1960s although he continued to compose. Through the 70s and into the 90s he taught at several music institutions in and around New York.
James Peter Giuffre was born in Dallas, Texas, and Saturday would have been his 87th birthday. -- AFP