Toledo jazz legend Claude Black dies at 80

Claude Black, a Toledo pianist.
Claude Black, a Toledo pianist.

Toledo jazz legend Claude Black, a pianist who played with Charlie “Bird” Parker, Stan Getz, and Wes Montgomery, and who toured with Aretha Franklin, died early today. He was 80 and had been battling cancer for more than a year.

From 1965 to 1967, he was touring pianist for the legendary Franklin and he enjoyed a 60-year career. As the house pianist for Murphy’s Place for more than two decades he worked with younger musicians, teaching them the personal and musical skills he learned over the years.

Mr. Black, was a Detroit native who began playing professionally at the age of 16. He eventually settled in Toledo and was a mainstay on the local jazz scene. Several benefit concerts were held last year to help him pay for medical care.

Funeral arrangements are pending.