Portland Jazz Saxophonist Michael York, Who Played with Mel Brown Sextet, Dies at 55


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from The Oregonian:

Michael York, one of the Portland jazz scene's most accomplished saxophonists who spent a decade as a featured member in the Mel Brown Sextet, died Monday morning, less than two weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.

Dusty York, the musician's son and a prominent Portland saxophonist himself, said that his father had been feeling ill and thought he might have a gallstone, but doctors instead found cancer that had originated in his lungs and spread to his liver. “He didn't know until a week and a half ago, and it was beyond the point where even a liver transplant would have helped. They immediately put him on hospice care. We thought he had a few weeks, but it happened very quickly."

York had just turned 55, his son said.

A spirited player, the older York was part of Portland's Mel Brown Sextet when it won the national Hennessey Jazz Search competition in 1989, earning a spot on the bill at the Playboy Jazz Festival in Los Angeles. He played with the group from about 1986-91, then again the mid-1990s. He worked occasionally as a leader and in recent years performed and recorded alongside his son.

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This story appears courtesy of Seattle Jazz Scene.
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