Rare Nick Travis Performance


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Nick Travis (1925-1964) played trumpet in a variety of big bands including those of Woody Herman, Ray McKinley, Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Ina Ray Hutton and Jerry Wald; all of those in the 1940s. The list got longer in the ‘50s, when he worked with Herman again, and with Jerry Gray, Bob Chester, Elliott Lawrence, Jimmy Dorsey, the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra and Maynard Ferguson’s Birdland Dream Band. Travis was active in New York studios in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s and was a prominent member of Gerry Mulligan’s Concert Jazz Band. In demand as a lead player, he was also a more than capable soloist in small groups led by Zoot Sims, Al Cohn and others. He had his own quintet album on RCA.

A recent discussion among jazz researchers turned up a rare kinescope recording of Travis performing with former Duke Ellington cornetist Rex Stewart in 1958 on one of the Art Ford’s Jazz Party broadcasts. Their version of “There Will Never Be Another You” may well have been arranged on the spot.

The bassist was Vinnie Burke, frequently featured on the Ford program. YouTube identifies the drummer as Barry Miles and the pianist as Ray Bryant. The pianist, however, is someone else. Bryant is seen wandering toward the piano in the closing seconds of the film. If you know who the pianist is, please send a comment.

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This story appears courtesy of Rifftides by Doug Ramsey.
Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved.


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