Trombonist Benny Powell dead at 80

July 4, 2010 at 3:36 PM

NEW YORK, July 4 (UPI) -- Trombonist and jazz educator Benny Powell, best known for his work with Count Basie's big band, died in New York at age 80.

Powell brought his "innate elegance" and "mellow, full-bodied sound" to the recording studio, enhancing the works of music legends from Frank Sinatra to Jay Hawkins and lighting up stages from Broadway to "The Merv Griffin Show," The New York Times reported.

Powell moved from New York to Los Angeles when "The Merv Griffin Show" relocated there in 1970, and he returned to New York in the '80s to promote jazz education. In 1994, he began teaching at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.

Powell died of a heart attack in a Manhattan hospital shortly after spinal surgery June 26. He is survived by a daughter, a sister and two grandchildren.

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