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Wayne Jackson (1941 - 2016)

Getty Images / WireImage / Lester Cohen

Wayne Jackson (1941 - 2016)

Wayne Jackson, the trumpet player and one-half of the legendary Memphis Horns that backed hit records by Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, and others, died June 21, 2016, according to multiple news sources. He was 74.

In a June 3 Facebook post, Jackson's wife, Amy, reported that her husband was treated for a bacterial infection that cleared up, but it "triggered his congestive heart failure symptoms." In a statement Tuesday, she said he eventually died of congestive heart failure.

"He led an incredible life," she said, "and he left an amazing music legacy."

Along with his Memphis Horns partner, tenor saxophonist Andrew Love, Jackson performed on hit after hit, notching 52 No. 1 records, according to Stax Records, based in Memphis, Tennessee.


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Jackson was born Nov. 24, 1941, in Memphis, Tennessee, and raised across the Mississippi River in West Memphis, Arkansas. His first musical instrument was the guitar, but when his mother brought him a trumpet when he was 11, his life was changed.

“I opened up the case, and it smelled like oil and brass," Jackson said, according to the biography on his official website, waynejacksonmusic.com. "I loved that, so I put it together, blew, and out came a pretty noise. My first taste of Sweet Medicine.”

He played the trumpet in his junior high school and senior high school bands. During his senior year, he also began performing with a rhythm and blues group, the Mar-Keys, which became the house band at Stax Records. Artists there included not only Redding, but also Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Carla and Rufus Thomas, and many others.

In February 2012, Love and Jackson were accorded one of the music industry's highest honors, a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement. Love died a few weeks later of complications of Alzheimer's disease.

Another artist who played with Memphis Horns was the great soul musician Booker T. Jones. In a 2012 retrospective essay at grammy.com, Jones wrote: "If you've ever heard the brilliant unison horns that play the starting phrases on records such as "Knock On Wood," "Hold On, I'm Comin'" or "In The Midnight Hour," then you've experienced the excitement that the Memphis Horns can stir when opening a song."

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