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Toledo jazz legend Claude Black dies at age 80

News Editor

Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013 11:01

Claude Black

University of Toledo

Pianist Claude Black performs in 2007 with bass player Clifford Murphy in this University of Toledo file photo.

Jazz pianist Claude Black, a former University of Toledo jazz faculty member, died early this morning at 80.

Timothy Brakel, chair of UT’s music department, said Black died while in hospice care.

During Black’s jazz career, he was a locally renowned soloist and collaborated with such greats as saxophonist Charlie Parker and singer Aretha Franklin.

UT faculty members and other community members organized a benefit concert for Black in January 2012 after he had been hospitalized with kidney failure, high blood pressure and the return of cancer. At the concert, he surprised well-wishers by attending the event and taking the stage with a piano solo.

Brakel said Black was known around the music department for his love of teaching and his devotion to his students.

“We are all saddened,” Brakel said. “We have a lost a great friend, colleague and mentor. He will be dearly missed.” 

Click below to view a video by Jay Weik, UT jazz guitar instructor, of Black playing at his benefit concert last January.

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