Remembering Urbie Green

August 8, 1926 – December 31, 2018

 

A tribute to the versatile trombonist

Trombonist Urbie Green died December 31, 2018 at the age of 92.

Green was and remains universally respected for his warm tone and fluency in all registers along with his flawless technique.

As a jazz improviser, Green was very credible in all styles that he played, from hard bop and cool jazz to swing and Dixieland, adding class and high musicianship to every session.

Born on August 8, 1926 in Mobile, Alabama, Green had early piano lessons from his mother before he started on trombone when he was 12.

At 15, Urbie Green was a member of the Tommy Reynolds band; that stint was followed by periods with the orchestras of Bob Strong, Jan Savitt, Frankie Carle, Gene Krupa (with whom he made his recording debut in 1947) and Woody Herman’s Third Herd (1950-53).

His association with Herman made Green famous in the jazz world; after moving to New York in 1953, he became busy as both a studio and a jazz trombonist, making a countless number of sessions in a wide variety of big band and combo settings including with Benny Goodman and albums of his own.

Green began slowing down in the 1980s although he continued recording until 1997 (50 years after the Krupa date) including a CD with his son pianist Jesse Green.

This rare film clip has Urbie Green in the early 1960s playing a remarkable version of “Flight Of The Bumblebee” along with a recording before school children.

-Scott Yanow