This is a tremendous honor, and I am humbled and grateful. There are a great number of fine trombonists whose projects and stories could have easily filled these pages.
While I had the opportunity to thank several guitarists and trombone teachers in the article, I would like to add that I am weak and He is strong. I am thankful to God for the opportunities he has given me. My parents and family are an amazing blessing and support in every way.
It has also brought to mind some of my big band leaders.
Some of my jazz band directors have really been on my mind: James Boitos at Illinois State University conducted the finest repertoire I have ever played in any big band, such as “The Things Are Coming” & “The Things Are Here” (Dizzy), and “The Shoes of The Fisherman’s Wife Are Some Jive-Ass Slippers” & “Don’t Be Afraid, The Clown’s Afraid, Too!”(Mingus) among others. He is a wonderful musician, teacher and man, whose improvisation class was centered around LISTENING to great albums and really turning on his students to jazz in all of its breadth and depth. Jim was the one who advised me to audition for Northwestern! He brought Dizzy to play with our band-WOW!
Bob Thommes was my first jazz band director and I was with him for six years in Junior High School and High School. He loves jazz more than any bassoonist I have ever met, and I was eventually able to forgive him for selecting to attend the University of Illinois, after all he was only 18 at the time!
Don Owens of Northwestern University is the finest teacher from the podium I have ever seen, and Whit Sidener was an under-appreciated master. Not everyone can conduct the finest young jazz musicians in the world, who are coming in and out of the Bands of Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Paul Anka & Maynard Ferguson AND COMMAND THEIR RESPECT.
Thanks to the great Disney All-American Bands Bob Raddock, Rick Goodstein, Art Bartner & the amazing artists they brought in to play with our bands.
In Chicago, I played some for Mayo Tiana but in BEAUTIFUL MIAMI, I had a gig with The Melton Mustafa and Jesse Jones Jr. Big Band my first night in town, and spent many joyful years playing for them, Mike Lewis, Peter Graves and Larry Elgart. Not to mention the masterful mentorship of Miami Jazz Trumpet and Big Band Leader & Legend, John Georgini.
I was also privileged to play with many amazing student trombone sections at Illinois State University, Northwestern University, The University of Miami, Disney & Birch Creek Music Academy. I think that the best was at Illinois State University, with Bill Aurand, Paul Browne, Mark Cooper & Tom Browne. (Honorary-Dave Gross!)
Thanks to all!! Wanted to share this with you!!!