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Ira Sullivan (1931-2020)

Victoria Wasylak • News • October 5, 2020

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On Wednesday, September 23, JAZZed received the following from NAMM’s Dan Del Fiorentino regarding the passing of Ira Sullivan:

“Jazzman and music educator Ira Sullivan passed away on Monday [September 21] at the age of 89.

Ira Sullivan was just three years old when he pulled his father’s trumpet out from behind the couch and began blowing into it. His father began teaching him how to play and by the time little Ira was five, he was playing in his grandmother’s church. His first professional gig came when he was only 12! Living in Chicago gave Ira many wonderful opportunities and the timing was perfect when his career took off as the Bebop era was in full swing. Ira performed with such jazz icons as Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey and Philly Joe Jones (to just name a few)! In 1971, while living in Miami, Ira was encouraged to provide musical training for the students at the Frost School of Music. He fully embraced the opportunity and proudly served as an educator for the school until his passing.

Here is a segment from his NAMM Oral History interview, which was made possible thanks to our friends at the Frost School of Music.”

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