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A Golden Month For J. J. Johnson - December 1947

By Christopher Smith • November 01, 1997
This month marks the 50th anniversary of an historic month in jazz trombone history. In a span of fourteen days in December 1947, the young J. J. Johnson made six recording sessions in New York with Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, Illinois Jacquet, Leo Parker and his own Quintet.

A Short History of the Trombone

By David Guion • October 02, 2004
Rather than try to explain the history of the trombone in one long chronology, it seems more useful to examine its role in a number of overlapping traditions. As political, economic, and cultural conditions have changed, some entire types of musical experience have disappeared. The instruments that have not been associated with some other kind of music at the time have disappeared as well. The trombone was on the brink of extinction at least once, but managed to hang on long enough to prove itself useful in some new setting.

It Has to Mean Something Everytime You Play: Advice from Some Trombone Masters

By Michael Meckna • September 01, 1997
"'It Has to Mean Something Every Time You Play': Advice from Some Trombone Masters" looks into the secrets of success as told by twelve professional trombone players. Their advice is both surprising and predictable, and a wonderful blend of what to do and what not to do. Beyond scales, lip slurs, and mouthpieces, they also have much to say about the mental and spiritual aspects of musical performance. Trombonists featured are J.J. Johnson, Stuart Dempster, Carl Fontana, Vinko Globokar, Urbie Green, Christian Lindberg, Albert Mangelsdorf, Arthur Pryor, Frank Rosolino, Ralph Sauer, Jack Teagarden, and Kai Winding.

Professional Music in the 1920's and the Rise of the Singing Trombone

By Robert Lindsay • April 18, 2006
Changes in instrumental solo styles sometimes reflect the changing economic and social context from which they emerge. This article explores why the so-called "singing" style of trombone, widely associated with the dance band musician Tommy Dorsey, blossomed to a new level as a working concept in the late 1920's and early 1930's. Why then, and not earlier? The article explores the changing markets for musicians in these years, and the changing technologies available to those musicians.

Recital Repertoire of the Trombone as Shown by Programs Published by the International Trombone Association

By David Guion • January 01, 1999
An examination of the recital programs published in the first 25 volumes of the ITA Journal, presented mostly in tables. Trombonists have programmed both solos and ensembles, with literature ranging from early music to avant garde and jazz. 283 pieces have been played at least five times in at least one five-year period or at least 15 times overall.

The Evolution of the Jazz Trombone, Part One: Dixieland

By David Wilken • September 01, 1996
Although the trombone is less often heard as a solo instrument, many legendary performers have left distinctive marks on the history of jazz. Each of these trombonists is indebted to earlier trombonists and other musicians who influenced the styles of jazz trombone. This line of development can be traced from early Dixieland trombonists, such as Kid Ory and Miff Mole to today's original sounding trombonists Ray Anderson and Craig Harris.

The Evolution of the Jazz Trombone, Part Three: Bebop

By David Wilken • January 01, 1998
Because of the extremely fast lines found in Bebop, it seemed impossible to play in this style on the slide trombone. Some trombonists began to play the valve trombone in order to play the difficult lines. However, the most accomplished trombonists of Bebop learned to work with the slide and pushed forward the technical limits of the trombone. By the 1950's trombonists had once again secured their position as innovators of jazz, and continued to pioneer new trends in music.

The Evolution of the Jazz Trombone, Part Two: The Swing Era

By David Wilken • March 01, 1997
Trombonists enjoyed a prominent role in the jazz ensemble of the swing era. Not only was the trombone often featured as a soloist, but many trombonists formed their own bands and built careers on not only their leadership but also their soloistic prowess.