Urbie Green (1926-2018)

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Urbie Green, one of jazz's smoothest and most polished trombonists who recorded more often than virtually any other post-war player, including Frank Rosolino, J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding, died on December 18, 2018. He was 92.

Green's soft, yearning trombone on albums was unmistakable. His sound came off as a perfect high-register sigh, more akin to a vocalist than a horn player. His sultry solos stood out on albums ranging from Billie Holiday's Lady in Satin and Dizzy Gillespie's Gillespiana to More (Theme from Mondo Cane) and Antonio Carlos Jobim's Wave. An obit is here.

Here are my 10 favorite Green recordings...

Here's Green on his first leadership recording session playing Dancero in December 1953, with Doug Mettome (tp,bar-hrn) Urbie Green (tb) John Murtaugh (ts) Sam Staff (bar) Jimmy Lyon (p) Dante (Danny) Martucci (b) Jimmy Campbell (d)...

Dansero

Here's Green playing Mutation in January 1955, with Doug Mettome (tp,mellophone) Urbie Green (tb) Al Cohn (ts) Danny Bank (bar) Jimmy Lyon (p) Oscar Pettiford (b) Jimmy Campbell (d)...



Here's Urbie playing Springsville from All About Urbie Green And His Big Band in August 1956 (a year earlier than Miles Davis's recording on Miles Ahead), with Doc Severinsen and Phil Sunkel (tp); John Carisi (tp,arr); Urbie Green, Lou McGarity and Rex Peer (tb); Bill Barber (tu); Ray Beckenstein and Hal McKusick (as); Al Cohn (ts); Danny Bank (bar); Dave McKenna (p); Vinnie Burke (b) and Osie Johnson (d)...



Here's Green playing Please in December 1957 on Let's Face the Music and Dance, with Al Derisi, Bernie Glow, Doc Severinsen and Nick Travis (tp); Urbie Green, Billy Byers and Jack Satterfield (tb); Tom Mitchell (b-tb); Gene Quill and Hal McKusick (as); Boomie Richman (ts); Al Cohn (bar); Hank Jones (p); Milt Hinton (b) and George Wettling (d)...



Here's Green soloing behind Billie Holiday on It's Easy to Remember from Lady in Satin in February 1958...



Here's Urbie playing Early Autumn from The Message in February 1959, with John Carisi, Burt Collins, John Frosk and Marky Markowitz (tp); Urbie Green, Eddie Bert, Billy Byers and Marshall Hawk (tb); Hal McKusick and Rolf Kuhn (as,cl); Don Lanphere (ts); Pepper Adams (bar); John Bunch (p); Barry Galbraith (g); Teddy Kotick (b) and Nick Stabulas (d)...



Here's Green playing Dream from Persuasive Trombones Vol. 1 in February 1960, with John Bello, Don Ferrara and Doc Severinsen (tp); Urbie Green and Bobby Byrne (tb); Gil Cohen (b-tb); Hal McKusick (as); Rolf Kuhn (as,cl); Eddie Wasserman (fl,ts); Pepper Adams (bar); Dave McKenna (p); Barry Galbraith (g); Milt Hinton (b) and Don Lamond (d)...



Here's Green in a Schaefer beer ad in the early 1960s...



Here's Green soloing on Look to the Sky on Antonio Carlos Jobim's Wave album, produced by Creed Taylor in 1967...



Here's Green soling on If He Walked Into My Life from 21 Trombones in 1968, with Urbie Green, Wayne Andre, Will Bradley, Bill Elton, Phil Giardina, Mervin Gold, Mickey Gravine, J.J. Johnson, Barry Maur, Lou McGarity, John Messner, Buddy Morrow, Jack Rains, Sonny Russo, Charles Small, Chauncey Welsch and Kai Winding (tb); Paul Faulise, Dick Hixson, Tom Mitchell and Alan Raph (b-tb); Tony Mottola and Barry Galbraith (g); or Al Casamenti and Bucky Pizzarelli (g); George Duvivier (b); Grady Tate and Bobby Rosengarden; and Phil Kraus (perc)...



Bonus 1: If you want to see what the session from 21 Trombones must have looked like, here's Jiggs Whigham in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, playing If He Walked Into My Life with 20 trombones in 2007...



Bonus 2: Here's Monk Rowe's interview with Urbie Green in 1995...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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