Lem Winchester: Age 32 | Cause Of Death: GUNSHOT

(Born Mar 19, 1928 in Philadelphia, PA, Died Jan 13, 1961 in Indianapolis, IN)

Lem Winchester had great potential as a vibraphonist but it was all cut short by a tragic accident. Influenced by Milt Jackson but developing a sound of his own, Winchester actually played tenor, baritone and piano before choosing to stick exclusively to vibes. A police officer in Wilmington, DE, he made a big impression at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival and was soon recording regularly with such major players as Oliver Nelson, Benny Golson and Tommy Flanagan. Winchester resigned from the police force in 1960 so as to be a musician full-time, but then on January 13, 1961 he unsuccessfully demonstrated a trick with a revolver! — Scott Yanow