Donald Washington Jr., 64, of Philadelphia, a jazz musician and composer, died Wednesday, Dec. 30, of cancer at Manor Care Health Services-Lansdale.
Mr. Washington, known as "Chappy," was a musician beginning at age 9. He mastered the piano, trombone, guitar, flute, violin, and drums. Later, he wrote and arranged music.
"He was such a huge force in this area," said his stepmother, Marilyn Washington. "But he was so humble. He was not a braggart."
A graduate of West Philadelphia High School with a letter in music, he studied at Combs College of Music and became one of the initial students of the Clef Club of Philadelphia, a social, teaching, and performance group for jazz musicians that dates to the 1960s.
While still in his teens, he received his first professional job with the Marlboro Men of Philadelphia, a band assembled by his father, the jazz saxophonist Donald Washington Sr. The group toured Haiti, Jamaica, and the Virgin Islands.
At age 16, the younger Mr. Washington landed a recording contract backed by Marlboro cigarettes and also performed in his first jazz concert, at the Civic Center, with musicians Lex Humphrey and Charles Farnbrough.
He went on to play with the Al Copeland Review. His father was that group's music director, too.
He toured with the Delfonics and the Intruders. He was an assistant to Bill Meeks, former pianist for the Miss Black America Pageant in the 1970s.
At other times, he played with Jymie Merritt, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Blue Magic, and Sister Sledge.
"Chappy was a local, national, and internationally traveled musician," his family said. "And he came around full circle to give back to the community, mentoring many, many students, young and old."
Some received full scholarships to study music due to his influence. Others received recording contracts.
One of his passions was developing the Monday night jam session at the Clef Club, where he was on the faculty. He received an honorary citation last year from Philadelphia City Council for his many achievements.
Besides his stepmother, he is survived by his wife, Lisa McNeill Washington; a daughter, Hiesha Legrande; four brothers; three sisters; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. .
Memorial services are to be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, at the Clef Club, 738 S. Broad St. Burial is private.