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The “Bumpman” Dead of Massive Heart Attack

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Cornelius Bumpus, the legendary recording saxophonist, suffered a massive heart attack this morning while en route from New York to California to perform in five local jazz concerts. He was accompanied by his wife as the aircraft made an emergency landing in Kansas City and was pronounced dead on arrival.

The concerts were part of a foothill-valley tour, hosted by the Columbia College Jazz Series. Rod Harris, director of the Jazz Series, said, “The passing of Cornelius Bumpus is a tragic loss to the music world. He was beloved by everyone and was truly a great person as well as a talented musician.”

Bumpus was scheduled to perform at the Snowshoe Brewing Company in Sonora on Feb. 4, Magnolia School Auditorium in Oakdale on Feb. 5, Merced Arts Council on Feb. 6, Columbia College in Sonora on Feb. 7 and Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys on Feb. 8. Tickets will be refunded at the places of purchase.

According to Harris, plans are being made for a memorial concert to honor Bumpus and will be announced at a future date.

The “Bumpman” just finished a tour with Steely Dan and has performed, recorded and toured with some of the brightest names in music, including the Doobie Brothers, Jeff Lorber, Etta James, Boz Scaggs, Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald.

He was 58 years old.