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Daily Dose Of Jazz…

Tricky Lofton was born Lawrence Lofton on May 28, 1930 in Houston, Texas. Not much is documented about him but he studied trombone with Kid Ory and J. J. Johnson.  

He recorded several recordings with Carmell Jones, Ron Jefferson, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Wayne Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Leroy Vinnegar, Frank Strazzeri, Bill Berry’s LA Big Band, Jimmy Cleveland, Les McCann and Ben Webster. He worked with arranger Gerald Wilson and recorded on Pacific Jazz, Fresh Sound Records.

Trombonist Tricky Lofton passed away on December 15, 1993 in San Francisco, California.

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Phil Ranelin was born May 25, 1939 in Indianapolis, Indiana and lived in New York City before moving to Detroit, Michigan in the 1960s. He worked as a session musician on many Motown recordings, including with Stevie Wonder.

In 1971, he and Wendell Harrison formed a group called The Tribe, which was an avant-garde jazz ensemble devoted to black consciousness. Alongside it he co-founded Tribe Records. He released several albums as a leader in the 1970s, and continued with The Tribe project until 1978. Following this, Ranelin worked with Freddie Hubbard, Freddie Redd and the Red Hot Chili Peppers..

Working for the most part locally around Detroit in the following decades, Phil did not find widespread acceptance among jazz aficionados. He did, however, eventually gain the attention of rare groove collectors who became increasingly interested in his work. As a result, Tortoise drummer John McEntire remastered some of his older material and re-released it on Hefty Records. He also recorded on Lifeforce, Wide Hive and Rebirth record labels.

Trombonist Phil Ranelin continues to perform, compose, and record.

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Mike Zwerin was born May 18, 1930 in New York on May 18, 1930. He studied at the High School of Music and Art and began leading bands in his teens, employing several up-and-coming musicians. At the age of 18, while on summer break from the University of Miami, he was the trombonist in Miles Davis’s nonet at the Royal Roost club in New York. This band was recorded performing the live sessions in 1948 and its music the following year culminated in the album that became immortalized as Birth of the Cool.

He abandoned his musical life for much of the 1950s but after a spell in France he returned to New York in 1958 and played the trombone in several big bands. However, in 1960 after his father’s death, he returned to the world of business and he took over as president of his dad’s company, the Capitol Steel Corporation. Over the next four years Mike kept a hand in jazz, working in John Lewis’s big band Orchestra USA, with whom he recorded and directed a small group. He also worked briefly with pianist Earl Hines but by the mid-1960s he withdrew from the business.

Zwerin moved to London in 1969 and then, in 1972, to Paris, which would be his home for the rest of his life. Nevertheless, he kept his hand in as a trombonist throughout the 1980s, working with his fellow expatriate Hal Singer and with the guitarist Christian Escoudé. In 1988 he toured with the Big Band Charles Mingus, played briefly with t Swiss bandleader George Gruntz and played with the French fusion band Telephone.

As a music critic and columnist he wrote for the Village Voice, Down Beat, Rolling Stone, Penthouse, the International Herald Tribune and Bloomberg News. He authored several books about his own life in the world of jazz, most notably The Silent Sound of Needles, about his struggles with drug addiction, Close Enough for Jazz and The Parisian Jazz Chronicles: An Improvisational Memoir, but his most ambitious book may be La Tristesse de Saint Louis: Swing Under the Nazis that included the story of the Kille Dillers and the Ghetto Swingers, two bands that played in concentration camps, and how jazz survived across Europe though banned by the Nazis and labeled degenerate music.

Throughout his career trombonist and bass trumpeter Mike Zwerin would perform and record with Miles Davis, Maynard Ferguson, John Lewis, Archie Shepp, Claude Thornhill and Bill Russo, arrange, direct and produce an album of Kurt Weill songs with the Sextet of Orchestra U.S.A., before passing away after a long illness on April 2, 2010 in Paris, France at the age of 79.

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Warren Smith was born on May 17, 1908 in Middlebourne, West Virginia and and taught by hi s multi-instrumentalist father, he began playing piano from age seven. He learned cornet and saxophone before settling on the trombone.

Starting out in Harrison’s Texans, a territory band in the 1920s, Smith followed with an extended half-dozen year run in Abe Lyman’s employ in the 1930s. He worked with Bob Crosby in Indianapolis, Indiana during late in the 1930s before returning to work with Lyman briefly and closing out the decade.

Moving to Chicago, Illinois in the Forties, he settled in with Bud Jacobson and Bob Scobey, before heading to the West Coast to work with Jess Stacy and Lu Watters. In 1955 he toured with Duke Ellington, then played with Joe Darensbourg from 1957 to 1960. Through the Sixties he performed with Wild Bill Davison and Red Nichols.

On August 28, 1975 in Santa Barbara, California swing and mainstream trombonist Warren Smith, who never led a recording session but was fortunate to be able to make his living performing, passed away of natural causes at age 67.

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Floyd O’Brien was born May 7, 1904 in Chicago, Illinois and first played trombone with the Austin High School Gang in the 1920s and later in the decade he played with Earl Fuller, Floyd Town, Charles Pierce, Thelma Terry, and Husk O’Hare. Between 1930-31 he worked in a pit band at a theater in Des Moines, Iowa.

O’Brien moved to New York City and played with Mal Hallett, Joe Venuti, Smith Ballew, Mike Durso, Phil Harris, Gene Krupa and Bob Crosby between 1932 and 1942. Relocating to Los Angeles, California in 1943 he played with Eddie Miller, Bunk Johnson, Shorty Sherock, Jack Teagarden, and Wingy Manone.

By 1948 Floyd was back in Chicago performing with with Bud Freeman, Art Hodes and Danny Alvin. He recorded with Freeman as early as 1928 and other recordings include sessions with Eddie Condon, Fats Waller, Mezz Mezzrow, George Wettling, Charles LaVere, Albert Nicholas and Smokey Stover.

Trombonist Floyd O’Brien, whose lone session as a bandleader yielded two singles for Jump Records in 1945 and were also released under Charles LaVere’s name, passed away on November 26, 1968.

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