Herbie Mann Herbert Jay Solomon (April 16, 1930 - July 1, 2003), better known as Herbie Mann, was an American jazz flautist of Jewish decent and important practitioner of world music.
Herbie Mann was born in Brooklyn, New York. Early in his career, he also played saxophones and clarinets, but Mann was among the first jazz musicians to specialize on the flute and was perhaps jazz music's preeminent flautist during the 1960s.
In 1958 he added a conga player to his band and incorporated elements of African music. In 1961 Mann took a tour of Brazil and returned to the United States to record with Brazilian players. These albums helped popularize the bossa nova. Many of his albums throughout his career returned to Brazilian themes. Mann hired a young Chick Corea to play in some of his bands.
Mann also recorded music in reggae, Middle Eastern, and Eastern European styles. A number of disco-style smooth jazz records in the 1970s brought some criticism from jazz purists but helped Mann remain active during a period of declining interest in jazz.
Mann also had a number of songs cross over to the pop charts - rather rare for a jazz musician. A 1998 interview reported that "At least 25 Herbie Mann albums have made the top 200 pop charts, success denied most of his jazz peers."
He founded his own record label "Kokopelli Records" after difficulty with established labels. He later left this label, too. He recorded over 100 albums in his career.
Mann was quite prolific and performed often. His first gig was playing in the Catskills at age 15. His last, on May 3, 2003 was at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival at age 73. Herbie Mann died at age 73 on July 1, 2003 after a long battle with prostate cancer.