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Kenny Wheeler, contemporary jazz musician, dies aged 84

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Trumpeter and composer became part of the free-improvisation movement after joining the London jazz scene

Kenny Wheeler, one of the giants of British jazz, has died aged 84.

Born in Canada in 1930, the trumpeter and composer joined the London jazz scene after moving to Britain in 1952. He played in groups alongside the likes of Ronnie Scott, John Dankworth and Tubby Hayes as well becoming part of the free-improvisation movement.

He gained critical attention in the 1970s with a series of recordings for small ensembles on albums including Gnu High and Deer Wan.

However, for many fans, Wheeler's artistic peak was in the 1990s with seminal albums including Music for Large and Small Ensemble and Kayak. In 1997 he again won critical acclaim for Angel Song, a quartet album featuring Bill Frisell, Dave Holland and Lee Konitz.

In later life, he was the founding patron of the Junior Jazz programme at the Royal Academy of Music and was the subject of a year-long exhibition by the Academy Museum. He celebrated his 80th birthday with a concert in 2010.

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