Bocholt, Germany A band musician died of a brain injury when the trombonist behind him jerked the slide of his trombone forward and struck the trumpeter in the back of the head.
Police say the tragedy occurred as the Gratzfeld College band was rehearsing the spirited American jazz classic, "When the Saints Go Marching In".
According to other band members, trombonist Peter Niemeyer, 19, "got carried away" with the music. He started gyrating and thrashing around as he played. At one point, he jerked forward and the rounded metal slide on his instrument hit trumpet player Dolph Mohr, 20, dropping him instantly to the floor.
"Niemeyer was pumping the slide very hard," said medical examiner Dr. Max Krause. "But it wasn't just the force of the blow that killed Mohr. "The slide struck him in the worst possible place the vulnerable spot just behind and below the left ear. "Bone fragments pierced his brain, killing him instantly." The incident has provoked a storm of controversy over whether or not American jazz should be played in German colleges.
"I believe the music is to blame," said Gratzfeld band director Heinrich Sommer. "I was pressured to play that selection by school administrators. But I've always said jazz is dangerous music, Our musicians can't control themselves when they play it. They move and rock back and forth, creating chaos. If I had my way, American Dixieland would be outlawed in Germany. I've been directing bands for 30 years and I've never heard of anyone dying while playing a German march."
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