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Saturday, January 22, 2005 - Page updated at 12:06 A.M.

Billy Tolles, ex-Seattleite saxophonist, dies at 81

Seattle Times staff

Billy Tolles, an ex-Seattleite saxophonist and veteran of Seattle's Jackson Street jazz scene, has died.

Mr. Tolles, 81, died Tuesday of liver cancer in Colorado. He played with many jazz greats during his long career, including Louis Jordan, Billie Holiday and Ernestine Anderson. Mr. Tolles made his name playing in the Jackson Street jazz scene in the 1940s and '50s and eventually turned to playing rock 'n' roll.

He moved to Denver in the mid-'60s, and was a regular attraction on the Denver jazz and R&B scene. He occasionally returned to Seattle for performances, including a 2002 gig at the Experience Music Project's "Jazz in January" series.

Mr. Tolles is survived by his wife, Brandee Woods-Tolles.

Services will be held at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 31, Mile Hi Church, 9077 W. Alameda Ave., Lakewood, Colo.; 303-237-8851.

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