Jay Corre excelled in jazz, served Faith internationally

Jay Corre

Jay William Lischin was better known internationally under his stage name, Jay Corre, by which he built a formidable reputation as a jazz tenor saxophonist, on his own and accompanying a variety of artists. He mentored countless jazz students in southern Florida, arranged music for Bahá’í conferences, and supported the Faith enthusiastically.

Artists he performed or recorded with on sax, clarinet or flute include Buddy Rich, Dizzy Gillespie, Harry James, Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, Mercer Ellington, Maynard Ferguson, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Mel Torme, Nat “King” Cole, Tony Bennett and many others. Click here for a comprehensive resume he compiled in recent years.

Jay passed away at age 89 on October 26, 2014. He resided most recently in Stuart, Florida.

In a letter of tribute, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States wrote, “Energetic in the dissemination of the Bahá’í teachings at home and in a host of countries across the globe, Jay’s services to humanity as a performer, composer, and educator — and the warm, good-hearted, generous, and humble spirit with which these services were offered — will long be remembered by those fortunate enough to have received them.”

Born December 30, 1924, in Philadelphia, Jay grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he was playing sax at jazz clubs by age 16. He attended the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, then later the University of Miami and Florida International University. In three years’ military service he was a soloist and conductor for Navy ensembles.

He honed his craft in the reed sections of bands led by, among others, Raymond Scott and Boyd Raeburn. He freelanced in the Los Angeles area as a performer and arranger. In the 1950s and ’60s, he was an often-featured performer with a variety of jazz and pop stars, making several appearances on national television.

His career arced upward as he joined the Harry James and Benny Goodman orchestras, and he broke through to greater fame in the late 1960s as a featured soloist with the Buddy Rich Orchestra.

Though Jay had played with Dizzy Gillespie, a jazz legend and a Bahá’í since the early ’60s, it was through his own investigation that he embraced the Bahá’í Faith in 1971. His contributions to the Faith over the years included teaching visits to local communities in many states and countries, made possible through his musical travels. He also offered or arranged music at a multitude of Bahá’í conferences and events, including the 1976 International Teaching Conference in Paris (for which he also helped plan children’s classes); summer schools in Maine, Florida, New York and Illinois; and in the 1980s and ’90s the Peace Fest held annually at the Louis G. Gregory Bahá’í Institute in South Carolina. He collaborated on projects internationally with Bahá’í musicians such as Phil Morrison and Keith Williams.

He served in the late ’70s on the District Teaching Committee of South Florida and edited a Bahá’í newsletter for the region. For many years he was a member of the Spiritual Assembly of Hollywood, Florida, his home base well into the 2000s.

From the early ’70s Jay became increasingly involved in music education, teaching privately and in association with several colleges and universities, helping develop the jazz studies program at Florida International University, and offering lectures at area schools. He authored a book on woodwind warm-up techniques.

Travels in his later years included a “World Citizens Jazz Group” tour he led through China, as well as weeks or months at a time spent performing and collaborating with local musicians in Portugal, Spain, Japan and the Netherlands. He continued to play in many locations with his own combos and at one point served as music director for a reorganized Gene Krupa Orchestra.

Jay’s survivors include a niece, Susan Lischin Phillips, and a nephew, Andrew Lischin.

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