Jazz Institute of Chicago

Saxophonist Benny Waters dies at age 96

Saxophonist Benny Waters dies at age 96
by Russ Dantzler

NEW YORK, AUGUST 11, 1998 — World-renowned saxophone player, vocalist, and entertainer Benny Waters lost his battle to out-live Eubie Blake at Howard County General Hospital in Columbia, Maryland this morning. He will be taken to Snowden Funeral Home in Rockville, Maryland. Funeral arrangements are still pending. No details are yet confirmed as to the time or cause of death. It is known that he was taken to Howard County General this morning.

Benny Waters was born in Brighton, Maryland on January 23, 1902. He began his recording career with Charlie Johnson's band 70 years ago. Several years later, Benny Carter cut his first sides next to him in that band, and Waters recorded with Joe "King" Oliver. He went on to record with Hot Lips Page, Jimmy Lunceford, Memphis Slim and more recently with the Statesmen of Jazz, including Claude "Fiddler" Williams and Al Grey. (The Statesmen toured Japan last Sept. with Benny).

To the best of my knowledge and to authorities I have checked with, Benny was one of only six survivors of jazz recordings in the 1920s who were still active, along with Claude "Fiddler" Williams, Benny Carter, Lionel Hampton, Spiegel Willcox and Rosy McHargue.

{Ed. The Chicago Jazz Archive has put up a special Benny Waters link page at http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/LibInfo/Libraries/CJA/waters.html.]

Russ Dantzler was Benny Waters' manager. You can find more about Waters on the hotjazz website.

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