Herbert Harper was born July 2, 1920 in Salina, Kansas and studied trombone in his youth. He first started playing swing music with Benny Goodman and Charlie Spivak in the 1940s and 1950s. A move to Los Angeles, California saw him working on the West Coast jazz scene and performing with the likes of Stan Kenton, Bill Perkins and Maynard Ferguson, among others.
In 1949, he became a member of the band backing Billie Holiday on her famous Just Jazz radio broadcast for AFRS in Los Angeles. During this period he performed alongside band members trumpeter Neal Hefti, clarinetist and tenor saxophonist Herbie Steward pianist Jimmy Rowles bassist Robert “Iggy” Shevak and drummer Roy “Blinky” Garner.
In 1954, he recorded several sessions as a member of Steve White’s Hollywood-based quartet. As a leader he released his inaugural self titled recording in 1954 and followed up with another trio of albums that same year. With two more during the same decade, Herbie would record again as a leader until the Eighties. He would however record profusely as a sideman with Pete Rugolo and Ferguson.
Trombonist Herbie Harper, who concentrated his playing in the West Coast jazz school, passed away on January 21, 2012.
More Posts: trombone