Bob Brookmeyer

Robert Edward Brookmeyer (December 19, 1929 – December 15, 2011) was an American jazz valve trombonist, pianist, arranger, and composer. Brookmeyer was born on Dec. 19, 1929, in Kansas City, Mo., the only child of Elmer Edward Brookmeyer and the former Mayme Seifert. He began playing music professionally as a teenager and attended the Kansas City Conservatory of Music, but left before graduating Brookmeyer played piano with the big bands of Tex Beneke and Ray McKinley, but switched his focus to valve trombone when he was with the Claude Thornhill orchestra in the early 1950s. While active on the New York jazz scene in the 1950s and ’60s, Brookmeyer was also busy in the city’s television and recording studios. He was in the house band for “The Merv Griffin Show” and wrote arrangements for Ray Charles and others. He abandoned the uncertainties of the jazz life for the financial security of full-time studio work after moving to Los Angeles in 1968. In the 1960s he also worked as a studio musician, co-led a quintet with Clark Terry and worked in and wrote for the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. In 1980 this band recorded an album of his compositions/arrangements on which two tracks featured Terry. During his decade on the West Coast he struggled with a serious drinking problem and, after overcoming it, briefly considered quitting music to become an alcoholism counselor. Instead, in 1978, he returned to jazz, and to New York. Brookmeyer’s primary instrument was ...

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