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Jazz Musician Harold Ousley Passes Away

Harold Lomax Ousley, born January 23, 1929 in Chicago, Ill., passed away yesterday, August 13, 2015.

After studying in high school, Ousley became a professional musician working with circus bands for a number of years from the late 40s. Concurrently, in the early 50s, he played with Gene Ammons, King Kolax and also, in vivid demonstration of his versatility and stylistic range, with Miles Davis.

Through the 50s, mostly playing tenor saxophone, Ousley was often in company with artists of note, among them, Billie Holiday, Brother Jake McDuff, Howard McGhee, Joe Newman, Bud Powell, Clark Terry (the last two playing at the 1959 trip to Paris with a song revue),Dinah Washington (appearing with her at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival), and Joe Williams.

In the 70s, Ousley had a brief spells playing in the big bands of Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton. His eclectic versatility was also displayed during engagements with pop, blues and R&B performers, such as George Benson, Big|Brave Maybelle, Charles Brown, Ruth Brown, Percy Mayfield, Sunnyland Slim and Jimmy Witherspoon.

Ousley's obvious love for many years has been jazz education. He has presented jazz programs to schools and also became involved in the use of music as therapy with the Groves Therapeutic Counseling Service owned and ran by his late wife Alice Groves Ousley. Ousley who also played flute and digital horn, has made some film and television appearances, including appearing in Cotton Comes To Harlem (1970) and hosting his own early 90s cable television show, Harold Ousley Presents. Also in the early 90s, he was teamed up with Bill Doggett, A vigorous player with a rugged emotionalism. Ousley's work often shows the influence of blues, regardless of the setting. The latest CD, Grit- Gittin Feelin.

Watch Harold Ousley Jazz Circle of Friends - Four, Blue Bossa, & Freedom's Child.

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