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Bob Brookmeyer

Bob Brookmeyer is an NEA Jazz Master

Bob Brookmeyer has an unusually varied and extensive background in all forms of improvised and composed music. He was born December 19, 1929, attended Kansas City Conservatory of Music where he won the Carl Busch Prize for Choral Composition. He arrived in New York playing piano with Mel Lewis and Tex Benecke, staying there to perform the music of Eddie Sauter with Ray McKinley, free lancing with musicians such as Coleman Hawkins, PeeWee Russell, Ben Webster, Charles Mingus and Teddy Charles. After a brief stay with Claude Thornhill, he joined Stan Getz and maintained that association for 15 years. Leaving Stan Getz in 1954 he joined Gerry Mulligan, replacing Chet Baker, producing the Paris Concerts and beginning a partnership that lasted until Mulligan's death. Among his prime achievements was the creation of the Concert Jazz Band. In 1958, he spent a year with Jimmy Guiffre Three, including Jim Hall, which turned out to be the first group to employ regular free improvisation as a staple of the concert fare. Along the way, he made a two piano album with Bill Evans, played on George Russell's New York, New York, and became a regular in the studio musicians “A” group. The Quintet with Clark Terry began in 1961 to great success and continues to this day. The Thad Jones-Mel Lewis band once again found him as a key member and contributing composer/arranger. Also in 1979 he and Jim Hall played as a duo exclusively for one year, garnering critical acclaim.

In 1981 he began to work extensively in Europe as a composer and conductor, creating many works for Cologne and Stockholm. He also was appointed Musical Director of the Mel Lewis Orchestra, while beginning a career in University teaching at the Manhattan School of Music. In 1988 he was appointed Director of the BMI Composers Workshop and in 1991 he moved to Holland to start a radical new school for improvised and composed music. Upon the demise of this venture he returned to the United States and settled in New Hampshire, assuming a position as Chair of the Jazz Composition Department at the New England Conservatory. While in Europe he was invited to initiate a jazz project at the Famed Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, which in turn became the beginnings of his New Art Orchestra, an 18 piece group that remains his composition voice. They have recorded three CDs for the Challenge label—New Works, which was CD of the Year in England, Waltzing With Zoe and Get Well Soon, which was nominated for a Grammy in 2005.

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Live Review

Boston Celebration: The Legacy of Bob Brookmeyer

Read "Boston Celebration: The Legacy of Bob Brookmeyer" reviewed by Doug Hall

Bob Brookmeyer: A Celebration Jordan Hall Boston, MA March 1, 2018The on-going celebration of New England Conservatory's 150th anniversary brought well deserved attention to the Jazz Studies and Contemporary Improvisation departments for the 2017-2018 performance season. On March 1st, at Jordan Hall, NEC presented a very special tribute celebration to the legacy of Bob Brookmeyer, the legendary jazz musician (valve trombonist, pianist) composer, arranger, conductor, teacher, performer and mentor to many jazz ...

Big Band Report

Bob Brookmeyer: Jack of All Trades, Master of Valves

Read "Bob Brookmeyer: Jack of All Trades, Master of Valves" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Bob Brookmeyer, a Renaissance man among jazz musicians who died December 15, 2011, four days before his eighty-second birthday, will be remembered as many things: composer, arranger, musician, educator, outspoken arbiter who brooked no nonsense and wasn't shy about letting others know when he believed they were not giving the music he loved the best they had to offer. What I remember best about Brookmeyer was the lithe, ever-swinging valve trombone that complemented such luminaries as Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, ...

Extended Analysis

Mosaic Select 9: Bob Brookmeyer

Read "Mosaic Select 9: Bob Brookmeyer" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan

Bob BrookmeyerMosaic Select 9 Mosaic Records Although he continues to be a valued jazz artist recording occasionally, the state of Bob Brookmeyer's early catalog until recently was inexplicably in a state of disarray. Of course, we still haven't seen CD reissues of such vintage Verve sides like The Blues, Hot and Cold or the Mercury set Jazz Is a Kick, but things have been looking up since the appearance of this new Select ...

Extended Analysis

Stan Getz: At The Shrine

Read "Stan Getz: At The Shrine" reviewed by Chris May

> Stan Getz At The Shrine Verve 1955

Bookended between The Complete Roost Recordings (Verve, 1950-55) and The Steamer (Verve, 1956), this November 8, 1954 live recording from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles is often overlooked when checklists of tenor saxophonist Stan Getz's early classics are compiled. Originally released over two LPs, it includes in its entirety an outstandingly vibrant 53 minute set by the Getz quintet--in a package tour ...

Album Review

Stan Getz: Jazz Giants '58

Read "Jazz Giants '58" reviewed by Samuel Chell

Although one could quarrel easily enough with the title, this meeting rises above the usual jam session produced by impresario Norman Granz for his Verve label because of the personnel. Gerry Mulligan, Sweets Edison, Oscar Peterson (practically the “house pianist" at Verve), Ray Brown--these are inimitable and personal instrumental voices in American music, and each speaks with sufficient authority to be considered “leader" on the date. But it's Stan Getz who makes the lasting impression.

Getz--a brilliant, “natural" ...

Album Review

Bob Brookmeyer and the New Art Orchestra: Spirit Music

Read "Spirit Music" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Clever title this, even though perchance unintended. Bob Brookmeyer (in his 76th year) and the impressive New Art Orchestra have recorded their fifth album, and first for ArtistShare, Spirit Music--in other words, the “Spirit of '76. Brookmeyer doesn't mention that in the liner notes, preferring to let others read between the lines and saying only that to circumvent “a routine that had developed [with the NAO] over the past ten years," he had “used a combination of new and recently ...

Album Review

Bob Brookmeyer New Art Orchestra: Get Well Soon

Read "Get Well Soon" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Get Well Soon is the third recording by the New Art Orchestra, an eighteen-piece ensemble formed nearly two decades ago in Lubeck, Germany, as a jazz component of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and overseen since its inception by the renowned American trombonist and composer, Bob Brookmeyer. Brookmeyer loves the NAO ("It has been my good fortune to become associated with an incredible group of people," he says. “They love what they do, they thrive on their friendships, and they give ...

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"Only a few of the acknowledged giants of orchestral writing still toil in the recording studio, and Brookmeyer stands among the best of them." — LOS ANGELES TIMES — Howard Reich

"When the entire audience stood and responded with people cheering, shouting and clapping, I realized that this was a moment that will forever live in my memory as an artistic triumph for a great artist. I've experienced it with Miles, Sonny, Trane and now with the compositions and orchestrations of Bob Brookmeyer." [In response to Bob's performance at the IAJE Conference in Jan. 2004] — Benny Maupin

"This painterly material is played by not just a big band, but a real orchestra in every sense of the word." — JAZZ NOW — Lawrence Brazier

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Thank You, Gerry!

Arkadia Records


The Stars of Jazz #1

Arkadia Records


The Trombones Inc.

Atlantic Records



Atlantic Records


Stan Getz: At The...

Verve Music Group




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