Paul Acket; Founded Major European Jazz Festival

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Paul Acket, whose annual North Sea Jazz Festival attracted such American stars as Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald, helping make it into Europe's biggest such event, has died of lung cancer. He was 69.

Acket, who was buried in a private ceremony in The Hague, where he staged his first North Sea Jazz Festival in 1976, died Oct. 5.

Over the years, his festival drew the biggest names in jazz while bringing together different styles in an event lasting several days.

Among other U.S. artists who highlighted the festivals were Lionel Hampton, Stan Getz, Count Basie, Buddy Collette, Jimmy Rowles, Ray Charles and Oscar Peterson.

Acket was born in Semarang, Indonesia, then a Dutch colony.

As a high school student in 1941, he staged jazz concerts in a rented hall in Hilversum, just east of Amsterdam, much to the consternation of Holland's Nazi occupiers.

In 1952, he scored his first major coup by bringing be-bop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie to the Netherlands for a concert in Amsterdam.

In 1956, Acket founded Muziek Express, a music magazine that, thanks to the rise of Elvis Presley and rock 'n' roll, became teen-agers' favorite source of music news.

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