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Buddy Montgomery Jazz Pianist and Vibraphonist Dies


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Buddy Montgomery, a jazz pianist and vibraphonist best known for his work with the guitarist Wes Montgomery, his older brother, died on May 14 at his home in Palmdale, Calif. He was 79.

The cause was a heart attack, said his granddaughter Mykah Montgomery.

Mr. Montgomery and another brother, the bassist Monk Montgomery, were members of Wes Montgomerys quartet on and off during the 1960s. They first worked with him when he was critically acclaimed but little known outside the jazz world and toured with him again after he made a series of lushly orchestrated albums that cracked the pop charts, although they did not play on those records.

Both Buddy and Monk Montgomery had considerable success before then as members of the Mastersounds, a West Coast quartet that specialized in a quiet, gently swinging brand of modern jazz; Buddy played vibraphone with the group. It made several well-received albums for the Pacific Jazz Label between 1957 and 1961.

After Wes Montgomerys death in 1968, Buddy became active as a jazz educator and advocate. He founded organizations in Milwaukee, where he lived from 1969 to 1982, and Oakland, Calif., where he lived for most of the 1980s, that offered jazz classes and presented free concerts. (Monk Montgomery, who went on to found the Las Vegas Jazz Society, died in 1982.)

Mr. Montgomery also continued to perform, primarily as a pianist, and led a trio at the Parker Meridien Hotel in New York from 1989 to 1993 before moving back to California.

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