By BRUCE WEBER
Published: April 7, 2009
Bud Shank, an alto saxophonist and flutist who helped propel cool-school West Coast jazz to prominence in the 1950s and fostered the melding of American and Brazilian music that created the bossa nova, died on Thursday in Tucson, Ariz. He was 82.
The cause was a pulmonary embolism, his wife, Linda, said.
Mr. Shank, whose career spanned 60 years, was a versatile player, both as a sideman and bandleader, in a wide variety of musical arenas, from big band swing to symphonic to pop, with a wide variety of collaborators. He played with the Stan Kenton big band in the early 1950s; in the 1960s he accompanied the sitarist Ravi Shankar, and he recorded with the Mamas and the Papas, playing the flute solo on their hit “California Dreamin.’ ” In 1985, he was the featured soloist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on a recording of a concerto for alto sax and orchestra.
But he thought of himself primarily as a bebop alto sax player, and no matter whom he was playing with, his sound, crisply melodic with an underlying swing, reflected his earliest influences: Lester Young, the great swing saxophonist of the 1930s and 1940s, andthe bebop generation that followed him.
The Obituary continues here at the New York Times.