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bird is the wordThe Music Director regrets to announce the death yesterday of baritone saxophone player & flautist Cecil Payne, just weeks shy of his 85th birthday. A native of Brooklyn, Payne is perhaps best known for his early associations with Dizzy Gillespie and a mid-60s one with the towering Randy Weston, also of Brooklyn, & composer of “African Village Bed-Stuy,” among many other great accomplishments. A fuller appreciation of Mr. Payne, his place in jazz, & an unjustly obscmust be played in the dark!ure chapter in Brooklyn’s abundant cultural history will be forthcoming. In the meantime, check the library, new & used record stores– anything with Cecil blowing on it of some quality. WWIB’s favorite of Payne’s leader dates is perhaps Zodiac, recorded in 1968, released on the Strata East label in 1973, & dedicated to two of its then deceased players, trumpeter Kenny Dorham & pianist Wynton Kelly– the latter born in Jamaica but raised in… Brooklyn.

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