Famous Trombone Jazz Players

famous jazz trombone players: Glenn Miller
By Kevin Christensen
Last updated: August 24, 2023

The trombone is a wonderful and versatile instrument that has been an integral part of jazz music since its inception.

Here are some of the most famous and influential trombone players in jazz history, along with a brief introduction to their life and work.

Kid Ory (1886-1973)

He was one of the pioneers of New Orleans jazz and the first great jazz trombonist.

He led his own band, the Ory’s Creole Jazz Band, which featured legendary musicians such as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, and Johnny Dodds.

He was known for his powerful and melodic playing, as well as his ability to improvise and arrange. He influenced many trombonists who came after him, such as Jack Teagarden, Tommy Dorsey, and J.J. Johnson.

Kid Ory & Creole Jazz Band, Caveau de la Huchette, Paris, 1955 (colorized)

Jack Teagarden (1905-1964)

He was one of the finest trombonists of all time and one of the first white musicians to play jazz.

He was influenced by blues and gospel music, and developed a smooth and lyrical style that contrasted with the more aggressive approach of his contemporaries.

He played with many famous jazz musicians, such as Benny Goodman, Bix Beiderbecke, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington. He was also a talented singer and composer.

Jack TEAGARDEN & His All Star Group " Basin' Street Blues" !!!

Tommy Dorsey (1905-1956)

He was one of the most popular bandleaders of the swing era and one of the most successful trombonists in history.

He led his own orchestra, which featured stars such as Frank Sinatra, Buddy Rich, and Sy Oliver.

He was known for his technical mastery and virtuosity, as well as his warm and velvety tone. He could play both fast and slow tempos with ease and elegance.

Buddy Rich with Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra 1943 "Well Git It" | from "Du Barry Was a Lady"

J.J. Johnson (1924-2001)

He was the most important trombonist of the modern jazz era and one of the founders of bebop trombone.

He revolutionized the instrument by adapting the fast and complex style of bebop to the trombone, which was previously considered too slow and cumbersome for this genre.

He played with remarkable speed, accuracy, clarity, and creativity. He also composed and arranged many jazz standards, such as “Lament”, “Wee Dot”, and “Perdido”.

J. J.  Johnson  - Like Someone In Love

Kai Winding (1922-1983)

He was one of the most versatile and prolific trombonists of his time. He played in various styles and settings, from big bands to small groups, from swing to cool jazz to hard bop.

He was especially known for his collaborations with J.J. Johnson, forming one of the most successful trombone duos in history.

They recorded several albums together, such as “Trombone for Two”, “The Great Kai & J.J.”, and “Israel”.

J.J. Johnson And Kai Winding ‎– Trombone For Two

Curtis Fuller (1934-2021)

He was one of the leading trombonists of hard bop and one of the few who could match the intensity and energy of this genre.

He played with a powerful and aggressive sound, using a wide range of dynamics, articulations, and effects.

He was a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, one of the most influential groups in jazz history. He also played with John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, and many others.

Curtis Fuller Compilation (1932-2021)

Frank Rosolino (1926-1978)

He was one of the most brilliant and expressive trombonists of his time.

He played with a smooth and lyrical style, using a lot of humor and surprise in his improvisation.

He played with many famous musicians, such as Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Quincy Jones, Count Basie, and Ella Fitzgerald. He was also a talented singer and scat vocalist.

Frank Rosolino on Jazz Scene USA 1962

Bill Watrous (1939-)

He is one of the most respected and acclaimed trombonists of his generation.

He is known for his incredible technique and virtuosity, as well as his warm and velvety tone. He can play both fast and slow tempos with ease and elegance.

He has played with many legendary musicians, such as Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Doc Severinsen. He is also a leader of his own groups, such as the Manhattan Wildlife Refuge and the Bill Watrous Quartet.

Bill Watrous-"Unforgettable"

Trombone Shorty (1986-)

He is one of the most exciting and original trombonists of his time.

He is known for his fusion of jazz, funk, rock, and hip-hop, as well as his use of electronic effects and loops.

He has played with many influential musicians, such as Lenny Kravitz, U2, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and The Roots.

He is also a leader of his own band, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue.

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue - Backatown live in Jazzwoche Burghausen

Glenn Miller (1904-1944)

He was one of the most famous and successful bandleaders of the swing era and one of the most popular trombonists in history.

He led his own orchestra, which featured hits such as “In the Mood”, “Moonlight Serenade”, and “Chattanooga Choo Choo”.

He was known for his catchy and melodic arrangements, as well as his distinctive clarinet-led sound.

He disappeared mysteriously during World War II, while flying over the English Channel.

Glenn Miller - In The Mood | Colorized (1941) 4K

Bob Brookmeyer (1929-2011)

He was one of the most innovative and influential trombonists of the cool jazz and third stream movements.

He played the valve trombone, which gave him more flexibility and range than the slide trombone.

He played with many renowned musicians, such as Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Jimmy Giuffre, and Thad Jones. He was also a prolific composer and arranger, writing for various ensembles and genres.

Bob Brookmeyer & John Scofield

Urbie Green (1926-2018)

He was one of the most versatile and respected trombonists of his time.

He played in various styles and settings, from big bands to small groups, swing to bebop and Latin music.

He played with many legendary musicians, such as Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Woody Herman, and Frank Sinatra.

He was known for his smooth and elegant style, as well as his mastery of the high register.

Urbie Green  - Bein' Green ( Full Album )

Carl Fontana (1928-2003)

He was one of the most brilliant and expressive trombonists of his time.

He played in various styles and settings, from big bands to small groups, from swing to bebop to hard bop.

He played with many famous musicians, such as Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton, Stan Kenton, and Al Cohn.

He was known for his fast and fluid technique, as well as his humorous and inventive improvisation.

Carl Fontana - I Thought About You
By Kevin Christensen
Trombone Geek, managed by trombone player Kevin Christensen, is a comprehensive resource for trombone players of all levels worldwide. Christensen's 20+ years of professional experience and training at prestigious institutions provide valuable insights into trombone playing. Trombone Geek offers tips, tricks, and advice on all aspects of playing the instrument. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced player looking to improve your skills, Trombone Geek is an excellent resource for learning and mastering this fascinating instrument.
TromboneGeek is reader supported. If you buy using links on this page, we may earn a referral fee.
TromboneGeek is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Related Posts

2 comments on “Famous Trombone Jazz Players”

  1. Hello Kevin,
    I recently saw a vintage Cord 812 cabriolet that belonged to San Fransisco jazz trombone player Monte Barton from 1937-1971. All I can find out about Barton is that he toured Australia in 1923 with the band, Frank Ellis and the Californians. Frank Ellis also led and recorded with the Hotel St. Francis band in the led 20s. No word of Monte Barton. I googled all sorts of lists and even the Library of Congress, no Monte.

    Do you know anything about Barton? He has really pricked my curiosity – how a musician who could afford an extremely costly automobile could be lost to history.
    Thanks, Will

    1. Hi Will,

      It’s fascinating how Monte Barton seems to have vanished from historical records, especially given the extravagant Cord 812. Unfortunately, I don’t have much to add, as he’s not a well-documented figure.

      Still, sometimes local libraries, jazz archives, or reaching out to jazz experts can unearth hidden gems of information. I hope you find more about him – it’s intriguing to uncover stories that have slipped through the cracks of history.

      Keep me updated if you discover anything exciting!

      Best,
      Kevin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Logo
Copyright © 2023 TromboneGeek.com