Jazz guitarist Herb Ellis died March 28 in Los Angeles after battling Alzheimer’s disease. He was 88.
Known for his clean tone, bluesy playing and acute melodic approach, Ellis excelled as both an accompanist and leader. After studying at North Texas U. (where his classmates included clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre, with whom he would later record), he joined the Casa Loma Orchestra and Jimmy Dorsey’s big band, where he emulated the sound of electric pioneer Charlie Christian.
From 1953-58, he worked in the late pianist Oscar Peterson’s famed drumless trio alongside bassist Ray Brown. He worked in vocalist Ella Fitzgerald’s band from 1958-62, then segued into studio work.
In later years, he recorded prolifically for the Concord Jazz label.