HONOLULU (KHON2) — Jazz legend Gabe Baltazar Jr. passed away on June 12 at home in Waialua, his family said.

Known for being a jazz saxophonist, he was known by many in the community.

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Gabriel Ruiz Hiroshi “Gabe” Baltazar, Jr. was born in Hilo on Nov. 1, 1929. His father Gabriel Baltazar Sr. was also a musician who performed in the Royal Hawaiian Band as well as at dance halls in Hawaii in the 1930s. It was his father who introduced him to the music industry by getting him a clarinet when he was 11 years old.

The Washington Middle School and McKinley High School graduate attended Peabody Institute, a music conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland.

Balthazar served in the Army during the Korean War.

He continued his studies at Los Angeles City College and then at Los Angeles State College. As a performer in a jazz band as a student in at a college in Los Angeles, Balthazar was invited by jazz artist Stan Kenton to perform with him in various capacities including being a featured soloist and lead saxophonist with the Stan Kenton Orchestra. There was a Stan Kenton Presents Gabe Baltazar album recorded.

His work included playing with the Royal Hawaiian Band, playing with many jazz great including Dizzy Gillepsie. He performed on the orchestra for television shows such as the Jerry Lewis Show.

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Theo Garneau wrote a biography on Baltazar’s life “If It Swings, It’s Music: The Autobiography Of Hawai‘i’s Gabe Baltazar Jr.” which was published in May 2012.