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On Sunday, May 19th at 10:07AM, the Native American Music world lost one of its most distinguished talents, elder Frederick P. Whiteface.

For more than 60 years Frederick P.Whiteface had a love affair with music from two different worlds. Frederick Whiteface was NAMA's 1998 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and Best Jazz Artist at the First Native American Music Awards. He was a special guest presenter at the Second Annual Native American Music Awards, and was a special guest performer with his group, The Swing Fantabulous, at the Third Annual Native American Music Awards.

Born on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota in 1922, he began playing music by the age of seven. A WWII Veteran and a college graduate with a teaching degree, 80 year old Frederick Whiteface was a self taught musician. He picked up the guitar at 11 years old. During high school he added other instruments into his repertoire including; clarinet, trumpet & trombone. However, it was the saxophone that stayed with him most. Allowed only to travel within a 100 mile radius from his home, he found part time work with other professional groups in his area. By age 20 he joined the Navy and served in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans aboard the USS Impulse, USS Big Her and the USS Cape Johnson during World War II. In the 1950's he formed The Flamingos and performed at clubs in the Black Hills. He soon became noted for his unique sax and jazz improvisations fused with traditional Lakota chants and drum beats. In recent years, he led his own jazz quartet and played with Big Bands such as The Tones and Tommy Mathews Orchestra. In 1995, he was inducted into the Dakota Hall of Fame and subsequently, April 20th, 1995 was declared Frederick Whiteface Day.

By 76 years of age, he witnessed the national release of his first recording, Mato Hota on Soar Records which earned him a Nammy for Best Blues/Jazz Recording and a letter of congratulations by from US Senator Tom Daschle. At the First Native American Music Awards he stated, "In the end, you get an opportunity to express what you feel and I think that is the most important part. I got an opportunity to express what I was hearing from the wind."

In November of 2000, Frederick Whiteface and the Swing Fantabulous graced the NAMA stage at the Third Annual Native American Music Awards and he performed in a special Hall of Fame tribute for the late jazz artist Jim Pepper. His independent recording, Fred By Request was also nominated for Song/Single of the Year.

Succumbing to a 14 year battle with cancer, Frederick Whiteface leaves behind his wife Pearl and his six children; Charmaine Whiteface Cutler, Wayne Iteska (Iteska means Whiteface in Lakota), Germaine Whiteface Hughes, Lorraine Whiteface Braveheart, Elaine Whiteface, and Dalaine Bloom, the latter of the two who have both appeared on their Dad's recordings, Mato Hota and Fred By Request.

NAMA CEO and President, Ellen Bello states, "I am very saddened by this loss. Frederick Whiteface was an extremely distinguished and classy gentlemen who was an exceptional talent and ultimate professional. He was also a wonderful role model, teacher, and an inspiring individual to many. He will be greatly missed by us all." In his honor, the Native American Music Association has established the Frederick P. Whiteface Scholarship Award. Donations are now being accepted by the Whiteface family and the Native American Music Association. For further information, contact Dalaine Bloom at (605) 348 3591.

Awards & Special Recognitions:

1998 Best Jazz/Blues Artist

1998 Lifetime Achievement Award

1995 Dakota Musicians Hall of Fame

April 20, 1995 - Fred Whiteface Day

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