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- Posted on Apr 6th 2009 11:15AM by Dan Reilly
Raised in Ohio, Shank began playing clarinet at age 10 before switching to saxophone two years later. He briefly attended the University of North Carolina in the late '40s, before dropping out to pursue a career in music. He was a member of big bands led by Charlie Barnet and Alvino Rey before joining pianist Stan Kenton's influential Innovations in Modern Music Orchestra -- a big band that featured strings and French horns.
In the '50s and early '60s, Shank was a large part of the West Coast jazz scene, leading his own band for a period while collaborating with a diverse group of musicians. He performed Brazilian music with guitarist Laurindo Almeida, and recorded an album with famed sitarist Ravi Shankar in 1962. While later focusing on session work, Shank contributed to many popular film scores, including 'The Thomas Crown Affair,' and provided the flute solo for 'California Dreamin'' in 1965.
In the '70s and '80s, Shank performed and recorded with a Latin-inspired quartet called the L.A. Four with Almeida and bassist Ray Brown. After giving up the flute in 1986, Shank worked on a number of projects including the formation of his own jazz workshop, a big band and several tribute albums. 'Beyond the Red Door,' a duet with pianist Bill Mays and Shank's final album, was released in 2007. Shank's last gig was in January, while his final studio session was this past Wednesady -- the day before he died. He is survived by his wife, Linda.
Read more about Bud Shank on All About Jazz.
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