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ROY CRIMMINS

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Roy Crimmins was born on August 2, 1929 in London, England of Irish and English descent. Originally self-taught, he was later mentored by the American bass trombonist Ray Premru of the Philharmonic Orchestra, and Ted Heath’s principal trombonist Don Lusher.

Crimmins turned professional in 1952 when he joined the Mick Mulligan band and over a career spanning 50 years he has played and collaborated with Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Archie Semple, Freddy Randall, Harry Gold and Lennie Hastings to name a few notables.

Collaborating with Alex Welsh in 1954, they started their own band and recorded with clarinettist Pee Wee Russell and Wild Bill Davison. The band was active for the following decade until Roy moved to Germany in 1965 where he kept a consistent lineup and a regular group. From 1970 until 1977 he lived in Switzerland again putting together a group using the pseudonym of Roy King and recorded three albums.

During this period he toured Europe extensively, had his own television show in Vienna for five years, and In the late 1970s, Crimmins went back to England and worked once again with Welsh until his death in 1982.

By the mid 1980s, Crimmins was approached by Bob Wilber to join his Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington orchestras, interpreting the original Lawrence Brown, Tricky Sam Nanton and Juan Tizol trombone solos, performing at the Nice and North Sea Jazz Festivals.

He was integral in establishing what is now known as the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Israel, moved to Tel Aviv, started the Israel Jazz Ensemble, and composed a commissioned concerto for Musica Nova that premiered at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art to great acclaim. His music is still broadcasted regularly.

Trombonist, composer and arranger Roy Crimmins, who composed some two dozen original compositions, passed away at the age of 85 on August 27,  2014 in London, England.

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WILL BRADLEY

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Will Bradley was born Wilbur Schwichtenberg on July 12, 1912 in Newton, New Jersey. He became one of the premier trombonists on the New York swing scene, and he often participated in jam sessions broadcast on The CBS Saturday Night Swing Club. In 1939 he and drummer Ray McKinley formed a big band with pianist Freddie Slack that became well known for boogie-woogie, with hit records Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar and Scrub Me Mama with a Boogie Beat and Down the Road a Piece. The latter song was recorded with Bradley, Ray McKinley, Doc Goldberg, Freddie Slack, with guest vocals by songwriter Don Raye.

He was one of the first band-leaders in the 1940s to appear in Soundies, three-minute musical films made for coin-operated movie jukeboxes. Their wide distribution gave the band valuable exposure with drummer Ray McKinley doing most of the vocals. After McKinley left to form his own band,  Bradley joined the United States Air Force, where he played in the Glenn Miller Air Force Band and he disbanded his group due to the problems of wartime.  He would go on to record with Ruth Brown and Charlie Parker and he became a studio musician, playing for many years in the The Tonight Show Band during the Johnny Carson era.

He was the band-leader for the Summer Silver Theater on CBS radio in 1941, with Ed Sullivan as the show’s host. Trombonist and bandleader Will Bradley, known for swing, sweet dance music and boogie-woogie songs, passed away on July 15, 1989, three days after his 77th birthday.


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DICK KENNEY

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Dick Kenney was born on July 6, 1920 in Albany, New York. He started playing the cello but it was as a trombonist that he got into the Toots Mondello band in the early 1940s. This initial step led to the big bands of Stan Kenton and Woody Herman.

A bandleader named Paul Villepigue brought the trombonist from Albany to New York City. In 1946 he played with Johnny Bothwell, and after two years Kenney headed for the West Coast and a return to college studies prior to hitting the big band big time.

His first gig was with Charlie Barnet and he recorded with Maynard Ferguson in 1952. Les Brown added the trombonist to his low brass section in 1957, and Dick having migrated to Brown’s New England stomping or rather foxtrotting, eased up after his Stan Kenton and Woody Herman experience.

Trombonist Dick Kenney worked with many of the big bands racking up a discography of some 100 sessions in which he is featured on. The most recent of which were tracked in the late Sixties but his list includes Stan Kenton’s visionary City of Glass as well as addresses from forgotten artists, a good example being the Bothwell collection Street of Dreams. The date of his passing is unknown at this time.


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ELI ROBINSON

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Eli Robinson was born on June 23, 1911 in Greenville, Georgia. After working in Cincinnati in bands led by Speed Webb and Zack White, he worked as well with McKinney’s Cotton Pickers.

Robinson made his first recordings in 1935 with Blanche Calloway. In 1936 he moved to New York City where he played with Teddy Hill, and Willie Bryant. After working briefly with Roy Eldridge in Chicago in 1939, he joined Count Basie from 1941 to 1947.

During the 1950s and 60s, he worked with Lucky Millinder and Buddy Tate. Trombonist and arranger Eli Robinson passed away on December 24, 1972.


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PAPA BUE JENSEN

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Papa Bue Jensen was born Arne Bue Jensen on May 8, 1930 in Copenhagen, Denmark, At an early age, he became fascinated with jazz, prompted by records from his brother with Harry James, Arte Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Bert Ambrose, Bunk John and George Lewis in the stack.

After World War II, Jensen became a sailor for a few years, visiting ports all around the world, where he had an opportunity to listen to enjoy their music venues. It was around this time that he started to play jazz. He borrowed money to by a slide trombone, was taught the seven basic positions of the slide by a Royal Danish Orchestra musician, and the rest he taught himself. Soon he was playing with other young jazz musicians, performing in clubs and bars around Copenhagen.

He played in the Royal Jazzman band, that later became the Bohana Jazz Band, Henrik Johansen’s Jazz Band and recorded as a sideman with the Saint Peter Street Stompers in the 1950s. Papa Bue also worked with the Bonanza Jazz Band, Chris Barber, Adrian Bentzon and Johansen. During this period of his career he was immersed in the Nyhavn music scene jamming with other young jazz musicians. In 1956 he founded and led the New Orleans Jazz Band, and was given the nickname Papa Bue as he was the on father in the group.

In late 1957, after an article by Shel Silverstein was published in which he referred to them as the Danish Vikings, Jensen renamed the ensemble the Viking Jazz Band. They released their first album in 1958 and their sophomore project Schlafe Mein Prinzchen released in 1960, sold over one million copies, garnering them gold status.

Though bebop was in at the time he remained in the Dixieland style, but was influenced by early swing and is considered one of the most significant proponents of his genre. The group remained active into the 1990s, recording and/or performing with George Lewis, Champion Jack Dupree, Art Hodes, Wild Bill Davison, Wingy Manone, Edmond Hall, Albert Nicholas, Earl Hines, Stuff Smith and Ben Webster.

Papa Bue’s Viking Jazz Band recorded Bent Fabricius-Bjerre’s theme music for the Olsen Gang series, and was awarded the Golden Keys To The City in 1969 after performing at the 1969 New Orleans Jazz Festival. In 1989 he was awarded the Ben Webster Prize of Honor.

Trombonist Papa Bue Jensen, who released a large number of albums on Storyville, timeless and Music Mecca record labels though few are in print, passed away on November 2, 2011, at the age of 81.


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