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Robert Edward "Bob" Brookmeyer (December 19, 1929 – December 15, 2011) was an American jazz valve trombonist, pianist, arranger, and composer. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Brookmeyer first gained widespread public attention as a member of Gerry Mulligan's quartet[2] from 1954 to 1957. He later worked with Jimmy Giuffre,[3] before rejoining Mulligan's Concert Jazz Band. He garnered 8 Grammy Award nominations during his lifetime.

Bob Brookmeyer
Clark Terry-Bob Brookmeyer.jpg
Brookmeyer (right) with Clark Terry at the Clearwater Jazz Festival, Florida, 1980s
Background information
Birth nameRobert Edward Brookmeyer
Born(1929-12-19)December 19, 1929
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
DiedDecember 15, 2011(2011-12-15) (aged 81)
New London, New Hampshire, U.S.[1]
GenresMainstream jazz
Cool jazz
West Coast jazz
Post bop
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, arranger, educator
InstrumentsValve trombone, piano
LabelsImpulse!, Mainstream, RCA, Verve
Associated actsGary Burton, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Jimmy Giuffre, Jim Hall, Gary McFarland, Gerry Mulligan, Lalo Schifrin, Clark Terry, The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Claude Thornhill, Zoot Sims


Brookmeyer was born on December 19, 1929 Kansas City, Missouri.[4] He was the only child of Elmer Edward Brookmeyer and Mayme Seifert.[1]

Brookmeyer began playing professionally when in his teens. He attended the Kansas City Conservatory of Music, but did not graduate. He played piano in big bands led by Tex Beneke and Ray McKinley, but concentrated on valve trombone from when he moved to the Claude Thornhill orchestra in the early 1950s. He was part of small groups led by Stan Getz, Jimmy Giuffre, and Gerry Mulligan in the 1950s. During the 1950s and 1960s Brookmeyer played in New York clubs, on television (including being part of the house band for The Merv Griffin Show), and on studio recordings, as well as arranging for Ray Charles and others.[1]

In the early 1960s Brookmeyer joined flugelhorn player Clark Terry in a band that achieved some success. In February 1965 Brookmeyer and Terry appeared together on BBC2's Jazz 625.[5]

Brookmeyer moved to Los Angeles in 1968 and became a full-time studio musician. He spent 10 years on the West Coast, and had a serious alcohol problem. After he overcame this, he returned to New York. Brookmeyer became musical director of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra in 1979, although he had not composed any music for a decade. Brookmeyer wrote for and performed with jazz groups in Europe from the early 1980s. He founded and ran a music school in the Netherlands, and taught at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, and other institutions.[1]

In June 2005, Brookmeyer joined ArtistShare and announced a project to fund an upcoming third album featuring his New Art Orchestra. The resulting Grammy-nominated CD, titled Spirit Music, was released in 2006. Brookmeyer was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in the same year.[1] His eighth Grammy Award nomination was for an arrangement from the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra's album, Forever Lasting, shortly before his death.[1] That same album was also nominated in the 57th Annual Grammy Awards for the category of Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album; the CD was entirely made up of Brookmeyer's compositions.

Brookmeyer died on December 15, 2011, in New London, New Hampshire.[1][6]

Honors and awardsEdit

Grammy Awards (nominations)Edit

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1960 Blues Suite', composed by Brookmeyer Best Arrangement Nominated
1965 The Power Of Positive Swinging, composed by Brookmeyer Best Instrumental Jazz Performance Nominated
1966 ABC Blues, composed by Brookmeyer Best Original Jazz Composition Nominated
1980 Skylark, arranged by Brookmeyer Best Instrumental Arrangement Nominated
2001 Impulsive! (Album) Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album Nominated
2004 Get Well Soon (Album) Large Jazz Ensemble Album Nominated
2006 Spirit Music (Album) Large Jazz Ensemble Album Nominated
2008 St. Louis Blues, arranged by Brookmeyer Best Instrumental Arrangement Nominated
2011 Nasty Dance, arranged by Brookmeyer Best Instrumental Arrangement Nominated


As leader/coleaderEdit

As sidemanEdit

With Chet BakerEdit

With Cannonball AdderleyEdit

With Manny AlbamEdit

With Arkadia Jazz All StarsEdit

  • 1998: Thank You, Gerry!: Our Tribute to Gerry Mulligan (Arkadia Jazz)

With Benny AronovEdit

  • 1979: Shadow Box (Choice)

With Bobby BryantEdit

With Ruby BraffEdit

With Monty BudwigEdit

With Ralph BurnsEdit

  • 1961: Where There's Burns There's Fire (Warwick)

With Gary BurtonEdit

With Ray CharlesEdit

With Al CohnEdit

With Dave FrishbergEdit

With Curtis FullerEdit

With Stan GetzEdit

With Jimmy GiuffreEdit

With Buddy GrecoEdit

  • 1961: I Like It Swinging (Epic)

With the Guitar ChoirEdit

With Bobby HackettEdit

With Jim HallEdit

  • 1999: Live At The North Sea Jazz Festival (Challenge)

With Woody HermanEdit

  • 1958: The Herd Rides Again . . . In Stereo (Everest)

With Lee KonitzEdit

With Marko LacknerEdit

  • 2005: Awakening (Double Moon)

With Gary McFarlandEdit

With Gary McFarland and Clark TerryEdit

With Gerry MulliganEdit

With Oliver NelsonEdit

With Anita O'DayEdit

With Michel PetruccianiEdit

  • 1997: Both Worlds (Dreyfus Jazz)

With Oscar PettifordEdit

With Bill PottsEdit

With Jimmy RaneyEdit

  • 1957: Jimmy Raney In Three Attitudes (ABC-Paramount)

With Pee Wee Russell and Coleman HawkinsEdit

With Lalo SchifrinEdit

With Don SebeskyEdit

  • 1979: Three Works For Jazz Soloists & Symphony Orchestra (Gryphon)

With Bud ShankEdit

With Zoot SimsEdit

With Clark TerryEdit

  • 1971: Clark Terry & Bob Brookmeyer (Verve)

With Bob ThieleEdit

  • 1969: Head Start (Flying Dutchman)

With Various ArtistsEdit

As arrangerEdit

With Terry GibbsEdit

With The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis OrchestraEdit

With Jack TeagardenEdit

  • 1962: Think Well Of Me (Verve)

As composerEdit

With Jim Pugh and Dave TaylorEdit

  • 1984: The Pugh-Taylor Project (DMP) - track 3, "Red Balloons"

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Keepnews, Peter (December 18, 2011). "Bob Brookmeyer, Jazz Musician and educator, Dies at 81". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Berendt, Joachim (1976). The Jazz Book. Paladin. p. 380.
  3. ^ Berendt, Joachim (1976). The Jazz Book. Paladin. p. 384.
  4. ^ Berendt, Joachim (1976). The Jazz Book. Paladin. p. 199.
  5. ^ "Tribute to Bob Brookmeyer". December 19, 2011. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  6. ^ artsjournal obituary. Archived May 21, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Bob Brookmeyer Featuring Al Cohn - Storyville Presents Bob Brookmeyer". Discogs. Retrieved November 12, 2017.

External linksEdit