Don Lanphere, a saxophone player who was known as the “grandpop” of jazz in Seattle, died on Oct. 12 of hepatitis C. He was 75.
Lanphere began playing the tenor and soprano sax as a teenager. He toured with bands in Seattle and studied music at Northwestern University in Illinois. In the 1950s, he moved to New York City where he became captivated by post-World War II bebop — and heroin.
Lanphere played with many jazz greats, including Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro and Max Roach, but his drug and alcohol addictions hurt him professionally and personally. By 1960, he had returned to Washington to run his father’s music store.
Lanphere started playing again in 1969 when he and his wife Midge became born-again Christians. He gave up drugs, became a music teacher and recorded 13 albums under his own name. For the past few years, he made Monday morning appearances on “The Don and Bud Show” on KBCS, 91.3 FM. He also played lead tenor in the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra.