Blues musician Melvin Jackson dies

AP News
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Posted: Dec 31, 2014 9:55 PM
Blues musician Melvin Jackson dies

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Blues musician Melvin Jackson, who performed for years with legends B.B. King and Bobby "Blue" Bland, has died. He was 79.

Jackson died Tuesday evening at a hospice facility in Las Vegas after suffering from Alzheimer's disease, said his niece, Valerie Jordan. The trumpeter and saxophone player started performing as a child with his father, who was also a musician.

"He practiced every single day, even when he knew the music," she said.

Drummer Tony Coleman, who worked with Jackson for years as a member of King's band, says Jackson was a consummate professional and an excellent musician. Jackson performed with Bland and King for decades traveling to more than 90 countries and only quit performing this September. He was versatile and his music had a good blues feel, Coleman said.

"He's always been extremely serious about performing," Coleman said. "There were no excuses — be on time, be professional, do your best — that's how he was."

Jackson was born in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1935 but had lived in Las Vegas for years, his niece said.

He is survived by three daughters.