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Jack Nimitz Baritone Sax Player Dies

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Jack Nimitz
Jack Nimitz played clarinet and alto saxophone before discovering the baritone sax and falling in love with the instrument's voice. “It sounded so warm and nice and dark and rich," he said.

Nimitz played with Woody Herman, Stan Kenton and Herbie Mann and had a busy career as a studio musician in Hollywood.

Jack Nimitz, a jazz baritone saxophonist who played in the Woody Herman and Stan Kenton big bands and in the group “Supersax," died Wednesday of complications from emphysema at his home in Studio City. He was 79.

Born in Washington, D.C., in 1930, Nimitz began playing clarinet at an early age and alto saxophone at 14. He was still a teenager when he began playing professional gigs at Howard Theatre in Washington.

He soon fell in love with the baritone saxophone. “It sounded so warm and nice and dark and rich," he told The Times some years ago. “The bottom notes are the best notes in the whole orchestra, because if you don't have a good bottom, nothing really works."

He bought his first baritone saxophone at the age of 20 and three years later was playing baritone in Herman's band. Through the 1950s, he played with Herman, Kenton and, later, Herbie Mann.

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