February 20, 1926 – March 4, 1963
|Instrument||tenor sax, flute|
Heralded as one of the handful of Europeans who created their own niche in the straight-ahead jazz age, cool jazz and hard bop saxophonist, flautist and composer Bobby Jaspar was born in Liège, Belgium to a family of musicians. As a teenager, Bobby played tenor in a Dixieland group with Toots Thielemans. After relocating to Paris in 1950, he recorded with Henri Renaud and Bernard Peiffer and began playing with touring Americans Jimmy Raney, Chet Baker and future wife Blossom Dearie. Blossom and Bobby moved to New York in 1956 where he was heralded the New Star due to his distinct phrasing and sound.
Bobby freelanced the majority of his US career, recording with jazz legends JJ Johnson, Kenny Burrell, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Toshiko Akiyoski and Donald Byrd. Bobby's best-known recordings are "Interplay for Two Trumpets and Two Tenors," for which he was teamed with John Coltrane, and "Chet Is Back", recorded with Chet Baker. His sudden death at 37 is seen as a tragic loss for the jazz world.