Huey Long, 105, a jazz guitarist whose career included stints with musical giants Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker as well as the famed Ink Spots vocal group, died Wednesday in a Houston nursing home.
Mr. Long was first drawn to music as a teenager when a group of minstrels visited his hometown of Sealy, Texas. He began playing the banjo and joined Frank Davis and his Louisiana Jazz Band in the mid-1920s.
In the 1930s, Mr. Long - by then a guitarist - went to Chicago, where he recorded with pianist Lil Armstrong and joined Fletcher Henderson's orchestra, which brought him to New York in 1943.
There, Mr. Long joined Earl "Fatha" Hines, whose big band included Gillespie, Parker, and Sarah Vaughn. In 1945, Mr. Long was leading his own trio when vocalist Bill Kenny invited him to join the Ink Spots, whose velvet harmonies and flashy performing style had helped them become one of the first black groups to gain acceptance among white listeners.
The Ink Spots, whose recordings included classics such as "If I Didn't Care" and "I'll Get By," along with songs "I Cover the Waterfront" and "Java Jive" later reinvented for newer generations, were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1987 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. They are often credited with having a direct influence on the evolution of doo-wop groups and rhythm and blues. - AP