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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.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.