On Jan. 24, 2016, Willie Nelson’s longtime friend, guitarist, and fellow Texan, Jackie King passed away. He was 71-years-old.
For decades, King performed by Nelson’s side. Starting in the mid-80s the two toured together, while featuring one another on their albums multiple times.
In 1984, King collaborated and performed on Nelson’s jazzy album, Angel Eyes. To return the favor, Nelson played in King’s 1986 album, Night Bird.
King also co-wrote the title track from Nelson’s Grammy-nominated 2002 album, The Great Divide.
According to mercurynews.com, Nelson once said of his friend,
I think of myself more now as a songwriter than I do a guitar player because of guys like Jackie King. It’s humbling to be in the presence of that kind of talent.
King was born and raised in San Antonio, TX. His father was his first musical inspiration, teaching him how to play the mandolin and guitar at a young age. By the time he reached 12-years-old, King was a professional guitarist, and performed around his hometown.
Following his long and successful career, King lectured and taught jazz guitar clinics at Berklee School of Music. King also became a published writer through articles for “Jazz Times,” “All About Jazz,” and “Jazz Guitar.”
King passed away at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center after suffering from a heart attack in his home in San Rafael.
Although better known in the jazz world, King made quite the mark on the music industry as a whole.
Our hearts go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.
In the video below, friends and bandmates, Nelson and King, perform side-by-side.
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