Freddie Hubbard

Freddie Hubbard

Hubbard started playing the mellophone and trumpet in his school band, studying at the Jordan Conservatory with the principal trumpeter of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. In his teens Hubbard worked locally with brothers Wes and Monk Montgomery and worked with bassist Larry Ridley and saxophonist James Spaulding. In 1958, at the age of 22, he moved to New York, and began playing with some of the best jazz players of the era, including Philly Joe Jones, Sonny Rollins, Slide Hampton, Eric Dolphy, J. J. Johnson, and Quincy Jones. In June 1960 Hubbard made his first record as a leader, Open Sesame, with saxophonist Tina Brooks, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Clifford Jarvis.

In December 1960 Hubbard was invited to play on Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz after Coleman had heard him playing with Don Cherry.

Then in May 1961, Hubbard played on Olé Coltrane, John Coltrane's final recording session with Atlantic Records. Together with Eric Dolphy, Hubbard was the only 'session' musician who appeared on both Olé and Africa/Brass, Coltrane's first album with ABC/Impulse! Later, in August 1961, Hubbard made one of his most famous records, Ready for Freddie, which was also his first collaboration with saxophonist Wayne Shorter. Hubbard would join Shorter later in 1961 when he replaced Lee Morgan in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. He played on several Blakey recordings, including Caravan, Ugetsu, Mosaic, and Free For All. Hubbard remained with Blakey until 1966, leaving to form the first of several small groups of his own, which featured, among others, pianist Kenny Barron and drummer Louis Hayes.

It was during this time that he began to develop his own sound, distancing himself from the early influences of Clifford Brown and Morgan, and won the Downbeat jazz magazine "New Star" award on trumpet.

Throughout the 1960s Hubbard played as a sideman on some of the most important albums from that era, including, Oliver Nelson's The Blues and the Abstract Truth, Eric Dolphy's Out to Lunch, Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage, and Wayne Shorter's Speak No Evil. He recorded extensively for Blue Note Records in the 1960s: eight albums as a bandleader, and twenty-eight as a sideman. Hubbard was described as "the most brilliant trumpeter of a generation of musicians who stand with one foot in 'tonal' jazz and the other in the atonal camp". Though he never fully embraced the free jazz of the '60s, he appeared on two of its landmark albums: Coleman's Free Jazz and Coltrane's Ascension.

Hubbard with Harry AbrahamHubbard achieved his greatest popular success in the 1970s with a series of albums for Creed Taylor and his record label CTI Records, overshadowing Stanley Turrentine, Hubert Laws, and George Benson.[8]. Although his early 1970s jazz albums Red Clay, First Light, Straight Life, and Sky Dive were particularly well received and considered among his best work, the albums he recorded later in the decade were attacked by critics for their commercialism. First Light won a 1972 Grammy Award and included pianists Herbie Hancock and Richard Wyands, guitarists Eric Gale and George Benson, bassist Ron Carter, drummer Jack DeJohnette, and percussionist Airto Moreira.[9] In 1994, Freddie, collaborating with Chicago jazz vocalist/co-writer Catherine Whitney, had lyrics set to the music of First Light.[10]

In 1977 Hubbard joined with Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Ron Carter and Wayne Shorter, members of the mid-sixties Miles Davis Quintet, for a series of performances. Several live recordings of this group were released as VSOP, VSOP: The Quintet, VSOP: Tempest in the Colosseum (all 1977) and VSOP: Live Under the Sky (1979). [2]

Hubbard's trumpet playing was featured on the track Zanzibar, on the 1978 Billy Joel album 52nd Street (the 1979 Grammy Award Winner for Best Album). The track ends with a fade during Hubbard's performance. An "unfaded" version was released on the 2004 Billy Joel box set My Lives.

In the 1980s Hubbard was again leading his own jazz group, attracting very favorable reviews, playing at concerts and festivals in the USA and Europe, often in the company of Joe Henderson, playing a repertory of Hard-bop and modal-jazz pieces. Hubbard played at the legendary Monterey Jazz Festival in 1980 and in 1989 (with Bobby Hutcherson). He played with Woody Shaw, recording with him in 1985, and two years later recorded Stardust with Benny Golson. In 1988 he teamed up once more with Blakey at an engagement in Holland, from which came Feel the Wind. In 1990 he appeared in Japan headlining an American-Japanese concert package which also featured Elvin Jones, Sonny Fortune, pianists George Duke and Benny Green, bass players Ron Carter, and Rufus Reid, with jazz and vocalist Salena Jones. He also performed at the Warsaw Jazz Festival at which Live at the Warsaw Jazz Festival (Jazzmen 1992) was recorded.

Following a long setback of health problems and a serious lip injury in 1992 where he ruptured his upper lip and subsequently developed an infection, Hubbard was again playing and recording occasionally, even if not at the high level that he set for himself during his earlier career. His best records ranked with the finest in his field.

In 2006, The National Endowment for the Arts honored Hubbard with its highest honor in jazz, the NEA Jazz Masters Award.

On December 29, 2008, Hubbard's hometown newspaper, The Indianapolis Star reported that Hubbard died from complications from a heart attack suffered on November 26 of the same year. Billboard magazine reported that Hubbard died in Sherman Oaks, California.

Leon Merian

Leon Merian

Leon Merian, born Sept. 17, 1923, Braintree, Mass. He earned a Bachelors and Master's degree from Columbia University. Mr. Merian was the Department Chairman of the Foreign Language Department at Milton Public Schools, Milton, Mass., (1970-1988).

For more than half a century this trumpet virtuoso has been producing dynamic sounds from his magic horn. Beginning in Boston and finishing in Bradenton, his trumpet was his philosophy. As Department Chairman of Foreign Languages in Milton, Mass., he was gifted in languages, however, for him; music was the purest form of language because ''it cannot be defined or limited. You don't have to know vocabulary or grammatical structure or anyone's culture or background to be able to communicate with music'', explained the Jazz man. All you have to do is touch that inner ear, touch a person's soul.

Leon Merian is one of the best known and highly regarded lead trumpet players of the big band era. He has been featured or played lead with Gene Krupa, Lucky Millinder, Boyd Raeburn, Pete Rugolo, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Barnet, Hugo Winterhalter, Hugo Montengro, the Jackie Gleason Show, Danny Kaye, Judy Garland, Don Ameche, Rosalind Russell, the Mills Brothers, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Bob Hope, Elvis Presley, Johnny Mathis, Jerry Lewis, Diana Ross, Ella Firzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Dean Martin, Paul Anka, Chubby Checker, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., and many others. Merian's sound prompted Dizzy Gillespie to describe it as ''one of the most beautiful you'll ever hear.''

One fascinating anecdote from his varied career came when he became one of the first white musicians to play with black band, Lucky Millinder; and he found himself sleeping in the bus because he was not admitted in the black hotels or the white hotels.

Leon is survived by Son, Leon James, (Camille) and their three children from Hingham, Mass.; sister, Florence Kashian, of Menlo Park, Calif. Memorial service is 10:30a.m., Saturday, Aug. 18, 2007, at Brown and Sons Funeral Homes and Crematory, 43rd Street Chapel, 604 43rd Street West, Bradenton. Memorial donations to TideWell Hospice and Palliative Care, 5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34238.

Herb Pomeroy

Herb Pomeroy

BOSTON [Massachusetts] (AP) -- Jazz trumpeter Herb Pomeroy, who played with Charlie Parker, backed up Frank Sinatra, and influenced generations of musicians in four decades as a teacher at Berklee College of Music and MIT, died.

Pomeroy died at his Gloucester [Massachusetts] home on Saturday [August11, 2007] after a long struggle with cancer, his daughter said. He was 77.

Pomeroy played at times with Parker, Charlie Mariano, Stan Kenton, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins and others. In addition to Sinatra, he backed Tony Bennett and Sarah Vaughn.

Pomeroy taught like he played jazz ‹ by improvising, with no notes, no syllabus, no text books, said Larry Monroe, another former student who is now Berklee's vice president for international affairs.

Above all else, however, Pomeroy was a family man, said his daughter, Perry Pomeroy. He fashioned his career so he could always put family first.

Pomeroy was also an unwavering fan of amateur sports, particularly the Gloucester High School football team, and the local Inter-Town Baseball League.

Irving Herbert Pomeroy III was born and raised in Gloucester and began playing music as a teenager. He spent a year at Harvard before leaving to become a full-time musician.

Buddy Childers

Lead trumpeter with Stan Kenton

Marion "Buddy" Childers, jazz trumpeter and bandleader: born St Louis, Missouri 12 February 1926; twice married (one son, one daughter); died Los Angeles 24 May 2007.

Marion "Buddy" Childers

Playing lead trumpet for a big band is like being a carthorse. It's one of the most demanding jobs in music requiring not only great musical skill and timing, but also stamina beyond man's normal allotment. Buddy Childers was, for half a century, one of the best. He played the role in the most demanding band in the world, that of the progressive leader Stan Kenton.

Another trumpeter with Kenton, Jack Sheldon, famously recalled that Stan stood in front of the band wanting louder, louder. "It didn't matter whether you played the music as written because it was so loud that nobody could tell whether you were actually playing or not." It was not unknown for Kenton's lead trumpeters to pass out on the stand from over-extending themselves. It happened to Al Porcino, the iron man of the horn, and also to Childers, as he recalled:

It was at the beginning of the job during the band's theme "Artistry in Rhythm". I was playing a high D, which isn't that high as trumpet parts go, but I had to hold it for four incredibly slow bars and the next thing I knew I was on the floor on my back with my horn still at my mouth and Stan was leaning over the sax section peering at me.

The Kenton band book was so demanding that Childers and Porcino were among several of his trumpet players who wore abdominal supports. The need for these was an indication that the musicians weren't blowing correctly.

Buddy Childers first joined the Kenton band in 1942 when he was 16. It was rare for one so young to join a "name" band. Self-taught, he had taken up the trumpet when he was 12 and had joined the musicians' union in his home city of St Louis, Missouri and become a working professional at 14. Soon after joining the Kenton band he became its lead trumpet player. He told me how it happened:

Guys in the trumpet section were always laying out while waiting to play a high note on the end of a song. One night three guys laid out and I was the only one playing the part. Stan got livid. He had told us not to do that, but they'd done it anyway. Stan turned purple with rage.

"You, you and you," he said, "you're fired!" He turned to me and said "You, you're my new first trumpet player." He thought better of that later, but it was too late and he kept his word.

The Kenton band worked for a year backing Bob Hope's radio show.

I actually left and rejoined the band eight times altogether. The first time was when I was called into the army in June 1944. I'd always had back problems. All it took was a couple of days of marching around and standing and I literally fell down and couldn't function. They put me in hospital and kept me in there for three months and then one day they told me I was out. Within a couple of months I was back with Kenton.

Childers worked with Kenton off and on from 1942 to 1954. In between he joined the bands led by Benny Carter, André Previn, Les Brown and Vido Musso. In 1951 he joined Tommy Dorsey, where he partnered the remarkable virtuoso Charlie Shavers in the trumpet section. Dorsey was a monster to work for, indifferent to the suffering of his musicians. On a long tour of Brazil Childers almost came to blows with him but stood up to the bandleader and afterwards they became good friends.

Leaving Dorsey he played for Georgie Auld and then rejoined the Charlie Barnet Band - he had been with Barnet in 1950. He worked as a freelance in Los Angeles and then spent seven years in Las Vegas from 1959 to 1966. He then returned to Los Angeles where he worked as a studio musician until the 1980s, working and recording under all the well-known leaders in the city. In the late Seventies he joined the big band led by the pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi and her saxophone-playing husband Lew Tabackin, recording and touring Europe with them. From 1983 he worked as music director for Frank Sinatra Jr's backing band.

He proved what an emotional man he was at a Stan Kenton Convention at Egham, Surrey in 1996, when he broke down and cried whilst explaining to us the enormous difficulties the trumpet section had had to overcome when he led it through a complex passage in Kenton's "Concerto to End All Concertos".

He returned to London in April 1997 to play at the Pizza Express and a couple of months after that he proved his eloquence and total recall when I interviewed him at the Jersey Jazz Festival; the resultant article ran to more than 10,000 words.

Childers also had a successful career as a photographer. He led his own big band at various times in Los Angeles and proved himself a worthy soloist on many occasions over the years. He battled with cancer for almost a decade but as recently as a year ago he was playing from his wheelchair at jam sessions in LA.

Maynard Ferguson
TPO/MF Tribute Page

Maynard Ferguson

Maynard Ferguson: Trumpeter, flugelhornist, valve trombonist, bandleader, b. Verdun (part of Montreal) 4 May 1928.

Maynard passed away late last night in California from kidney failure.

After recently completing a new live recording and closing out his amazing performing career with a historic run at Birdland last month in NYC, Maynard Ferguson passed away peacefully in California Wednesday evening.

As a child he studied piano and violin, and played the latter instrument in a Fox-Movietone short. Taking up the trumpet at nine, he was a member in his teens of dance bands led by Stan Wood (saxophonist), Roland David, and Johnny Holmes (his older brother Percy, a baritone saxophonist, also played for Holmes) and studied 1943-8 at the CMM with Bernard Baker. Ferguson was heard frequently on CBC radio and on one occasion played a “Serenade for Trumpet in Jazz” written for him by Morris Davis. While leading his own band in the Montreal area and in Toronto during the mid-1940s Ferguson came to the attention of US bandleaders. As Paul Bley recalled (Montreal Gazette, 28 Oct 1978), “Maynard would always open the show, and he played three octaves higher on trumpet than anyone else ... you ought to have seen the jaws drop on the visiting musicians.”

Ferguson went to the USA in 1948 and worked in turn in the big bands of Boyd Raeburn, Jimmy Dorsey, and Charlie Barnet until 1950. It was during his term 1950-3 with Stan Kenton that he first received great public acclaim, winning the DownBeat readers' polls for trumpet in 1950, 1951, and 1952. He made his first records under his own name in 1950, for Capitol, leading the Kenton band of the day.

After playing 1953-6 in Hollywood studio orchestras under contract to Paramount and recording with small groups (his own and others), he formed the Birdland Dreamland Band to perform at the New York jazz club Birdland. This was the first of several 'small' big bands (12 or 13 musicians) with which Ferguson toured until 1965, appearing at festivals and in clubs and concerts. He then turned briefly to a still smaller ensemble, although he performed and recorded at Expo 67 with a big band and a sextet, both comprising Montreal musicians.

Ferguson spent a year in India studying meditation and lecturing on music, then moved in 1968 to England. It was with a 17-piece English band, which combined the orchestral conventions of jazz and the rhythmic vigour of rock, that he regained and even surpassed his former popularity. The band made its North American debut in 1971, and its recording of “MacArthur Park” was popular early in the decade. With New York as his home base after 1973, Ferguson gradually replaced the English musicians with young US players, reducing the band again to 13. His recording of “Gonna Fly Now,” the theme from the film Rocky, was a major hit single (by the standard for pop intrumentals) 1977-8; it was followed by a second lesser hit in 1978, the theme from the movie Battlestar Galactica. His album Conquistador exceeded 500,000 in US sales.

In the mid-1980s, by which time Ferguson had moved to Ojai, Cal, he reduced his band still further and in 1987 introduced High Voltage, a fusion septet. By 1990, however, he was leading a more traditionallly-based nonet, the Big Bop Nouveau Band. Ferguson's extensive touring itinerary, which still found him on the road 8 months of every 12 in the early 1990s, has included many Canadian appearances. He performed on such CBC TV shows as 'Parade' and 'In the Mood' and, with his band, has played at the Stratford Festival (1958), in many concert halls (Massey Hall, PDA, etc), at Canadian Stage Band Festival (MusicFest Canada), regularly during the early 1980s at Ontario Place, and in 1982 and 1990 at the FIJM. He also played solo trumpet in the opening ceremonies of the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Several Canadians have been members of his bands - eg, the singer Anne Marie Moss, the tenor saxophonist Georgie Auld, and the trombonists Rob McConnell and Phil Gray. Kenny Wheeler composed and arranged for Ferguson's English band.

While Ferguson's dramatic virtuosity in the extreme upper registers of the trumpet (extending with ease to double-high 'C') and the bravado and invariably au courant style of his band have taken his popularity beyond the jazz world, they also have brought him a certain amount of critical disdain. Typically, the FIJM aside, the Ferguson band was rarely heard at the Canadian jazz festivals that flourished in the 1980s. His tendency towards exhibitionism - his grandstanding high notes and his use for many years of an aria from I Pagliacci as an encore - has led to his dismissal in some quarters as a mere showman. However, much of his work in the small-group context reveals a mature improviser whose high-note facility becomes a well-integrated aspect of an expressive and lyrical style. A natural leader, Ferguson has shown the ability to form and mould an ensemble of young musicians, and to infuse it with his own considerable energy and enthusiasm.

Jimmy Maxwell

Jazz musician who was every trumpet player's ideal
23 July 2002
Jimmy Maxwell

James Kendrick Maxwell, trumpet player: born Stockton, California 9 January 1917; married (one son, one daughter); died New York 20 July 2002.

Jimmy Maxwell was one of the greatest lead trumpeters in jazz. He was consequently concerned with the trumpet section, and so recorded few solos. His most notable appearance was undoubtedly the haunting growl obbligato that he provided to Peggy Lee's vocal on Benny Goodman's hit record "Why Don't You Do Right?" in 1942.

Maxwell's career was often linked with Goodman, right up until Goodman's nightmare six-week tour of the Soviet Union in 1962. During the tour, Goodman proved to be even more abrasive and intransigent than the Russian officials, and his musicians felt imprisoned in what they regarded as Goodman's travelling gulag.

Desperately stuck in the system, Maxwell decided to do anything he could to get away from Russia and Goodman. He phoned his wife in New York and told her to send him a telegram saying that there was an emergency at home and that he was needed there instantly. She obliged and her cable read, "Come home at once. The cat died. The dog died. Everybody died."

Everybody in Maxwell's family was a musician. His grandfather had been a cornettist in an army band during the Spanish-American War and his uncle played cornet with Paul Whiteman in 1919. Maxwell began teaching himself music when he was four and during his childhood avidly absorbed the records of Louis Armstrong. He taught himself harmony from recordings by Duke Ellington and from works by Stravinsky, Debussy and Ravel.

He grew up in Stockton, California, alongside Gil Evans, who put together his first jazz band in 1933, and Maxwell worked in Evans's bands of the Thirties. His first name band was that led by Jimmy Dorsey (1936-37) and he worked with Maxine Sullivan and Skinny Ennis before joining Goodman for the first time in 1939.

He stayed until 1943, sitting next to fellow giants Billy Butterfield and Cootie Williams in the Goodman trumpet section. Williams was one of the first black musicians to be employed by a white band leader. Goodman had earlier employed Teddy Wilson, one of the most influential black pianists. "Benny is a very mercenary man," said Maxwell,

He's very interested in money. But he didn't want to travel in the South with Teddy in the band, so he cut off a large part of his income.

Some years later, when we played at the New Yorker, we had five or six black guys in the band. I remember the manager saying "I don't want these black guys coming in through the lobby and through the restaurant," and Benny said "Well, I'm sorry. This is my band. If you don't want them in the band then screw yourself."

He didn't give any particular race or guy a bad time. If he was giving anybody a bad time it was just because he felt that way.

When Maxwell left Goodman's band, he later recalled,

Benny had me so buffaloed I didn't think anybody would hire me. Within a week of quitting the band it seemed like everyone in the country offered. Count Basie offered me a job. "Why didn't you ever ask me before, for God's sake?" He said "I couldn't afford to pay you." And

I said "You've offered me $100 a week more than Benny was paying me!" Woody Herman, everybody offered me jobs, but I was determined to stay in town.

Based in New York, Maxwell joined the CBS staff orchestra in 1943 and stayed there for two years. Then he moved to the Perry Como Show in 1945 and played in the band there for 20 years. He also worked in the NBC Symphony Orchestra and made innumerable recordings. Amongst the big bands he worked in were those led by Quincy Jones, Gerry Mulligan, Woody Herman, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and Oliver Nelson.

He deputised for one of Duke Ellington's trumpeters during the famous 1956 Newport Festival performance and in 1961 replaced Cat Anderson in the Ellington band for three weeks. When Ellington died, Maxwell played regularly in the "ghost" band led by Ellington's son Mercer. He was also one of the distinguished trumpeters who toured with the New York Jazz Repertory Company and its Louis Armstrong Tribute Band in 1975.

Amidst all this Maxwell became a mainstay at the NBC studios for 14 years from 1960. When he left the studios he taught privately and produced a tutorial manual for lead trumpet players, The First Trumpeter.

While he was working at NBC he heard a bagpipe band in Madison Square Gardens one day and was moved to tears. His wife bought him some pipes and he took lessons. His teacher insisted that he should wear a kilt. "You don't have to march in the parade, but you can't do it without a kilt." Maxwell protested that he had no intention of being a part of any parade. But the pressure was too much. He bought a kilt. "As I marched down 5th Avenue past NBC I thought 'Oh, God. I hope nobody comes out and sees me.'" He was in each St Patrick's Day parade for the next six years.

It was while he was at NBC that Goodman approached Maxwell to be one of the star musicians in the band for the Russian tour. Maxwell didn't want to go to Russia, but Goodman kept raising his offer. He also applied pressure and Maxwell had a call from one of the NBC bosses to tell him that it would be all right to take the six weeks off. Someone called from the State Department and suggested that it was Maxwell's duty as a patriot to make the trip. "I take care of my patriotic duty," Maxwell replied, "by paying my income tax." The man from the State Department said "Yes, and we can look into that, too."

Goodman suggested that Maxwell's son David could travel as the band boy and showed him the duties involved in setting up music stands and so on. Maxwell relented and agreed to travel. In Leningrad, five weeks into the tour, Goodman's secretary gave Maxwell a bill for David's living costs at $32 a day. Maxwell confronted Goodman with the bill and reminded him of the agreement they had made. Goodman denied that he had ever agreed to David being the band boy. Defeated, Maxwell told Goodman "Have the Russians give me a bill. I'll pay them, not you." The Soviet travel agency charged Maxwell $10 a day, not $32.

Maxwell played solo trumpet on the soundtrack of the 1972 film The Godfather and made many film appearances with the various bands in which he worked.

He was every trumpet player's ideal and probably summed himself up in an incident when he was leading the trumpet section at a recording date. One of the other trumpeters had a question about phrasing a certain passage. "How are you going to play this?" Maxwell smiled comfortably at the man. "Beautifully," he said.

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