Born - Great Barrington, MA
|A fine middle-register trumpeter whose
style seemed to practically define "cool jazz," Shorty Rogers was actually more
significant for his arranging, both in jazz and in the movie studios. After gaining early
experience with Will Bradley and Red Norvo and serving in the military, Rogers rose to
fame as a member of Woody Herman's First and Second Herds (1945-46 and 1947-49), and
somehow he managed to bring some swing to the Stan Kenton Innovations Orchestra (1950-51),
clearly enjoying writing for the stratospheric flights of Maynard Ferguson.
After that association ran its course, Rogers settled in Los Angeles where he led his Giants (which ranged from a quintet to a nonet and a big band) on a series of rewarding West Coast jazz-styled recordings and wrote for the studios, helping greatly to bring jazz into the movies; his scores for The Wild One and The Man with the Golden Arm are particularly memorable.
After 1962, Rogers stuck almost exclusively to writing for
television and films but in 1982 he began a comeback in jazz. Rogers reorganized and
headed the Lighthouse All-Stars and, although his own playing was not quite as strong as
previously, he remained a welcome presence both in clubs and recordings.
Shorty Rogers A fine writer and good trumpet player, Rogers wrote some invigorating arrangements for both big bands and small combos in the 50s and 60s, and turned increasingly to film and television, giving up playing completely from 60s to early 80s.
His compositions and arrangements merged the best of cool era discipline, precision, and subdued tones with the swing period's organization and sound. His pieces for nonet were especially inspired. -- Ron Wynn