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Bob Brookmeyer

Bob Brookmeyer

Stop and ask your average man (or woman) on the street to name some jazz trumpet players, and they'll easily pull out a few names. Louie Armstrong, of course. Then there's Dizzie Gillespie, Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, and Doc Severinsen. Of course, you might get Chet Baker, Maynard Ferguson, Harry James, and Clark Terry as well. Trumpet players? No problem.

But ask for some trombone players, and people struggle. After racking their brains, they may come up with Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey. Only your most die-hard jazz afficionados will know players like Jack Teagarden, J. J. Johnson, or Slide Hampton.

All right. Now ask for some famous jazz valve trombonists. Of course, most people won't even know that there are valve trombones. But if they do, then, it's a sure bet the #1 name they'll pick will be Bob Brookmeyer.

Naturally Bob did other things besides perform and record. Like compose, conduct, and teach at the New England Conservatory of Jazz. But alas, Bob is no longer with us as he played his last note in 2011 at age 81.