Jazz entrepreneur Butterfield dead at 83

Dec. 3, 2006 at 5:43 PM
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NEWARK, N.J., Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Tuba player Don Butterfield, who helped revolutionize his instrument's role in jazz, has died in New Jersey at the age of 83.

Having enjoyed a musical career with jazz greats such as Charlie Mingus and Clark Terry, Butterfield succumbed to a stroke-related illness last Monday at the New Jersey town of Cedar Grove, The New York Times said.

In addition to his donations to the world of jazz, Butterfield also took on principal tubist duties for the Radio City Music Hall orchestra under such composers as Dmitri Mitropoulos and Leonard Bernstein.

Having been born the son of a lumberjack in Centralia, Wash., Butterfield ultimately trained at the Julliard School of Music and with tuba great William Bell before launching himself and his famed instrument into the professional world.

The Times said Butterfield is survived by his wife, Alice; a stepson, Brian Nalepka; five children: Warren, Jay, Bruce Napeka, Donna Cunningham and Laura Peters; along with 11 grandchildren.

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