Benny Powell, the veteran trombonist, died last Saturday in New York. Born in New Orleans, Powell was treasured by his colleagues as a superb musician and teacher and as a gentleman who observed old-South standards of courtesy and consideration.
Among the bands that Powell graced were those of Count Basie, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, Bill Holman, Benny Goodman, Duke Pearson and Terry Gibbs. Here he is playing the blues in the company of a few of his admiring colleagues: Dizzy Gillespie and Harry Sweets" Edison (tp), Clark Terry (flh), James Moody and Buddy Tate (ts), Gene Harris (p), Freddie Green (g), Ray Brown (b), Grady Tate (d). Powell has the first solo in this excerpt from a festival in Switzerland in 1985.
Go here for a video montage that captures Benny Powell in several of his roles. DevraDoWrite has news of plans for his services.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.