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    Messner, Johnny

    Trombonist and bandleader who had his own orchestra and was one of U.S. Records’ biggest early sellers, moving over 150,000 copies of “She Had to Go and Lose it at the Astor”. 


    He graduated from Juilliard and was a staple at the Hotel McAlpin Marine Grill in New York for several years.  There is now a collection from these years oxymoronically titled The Uncollected:  Johnny Messner and His Hotel McAlpin Orchestra. 


    At some point at the grill, he and fellow bandleader Vincent Lopez crossed paths, and he became Vincent’s assistant and musical co-director for a time.  This would have been around 1959, the same year he wound up with the Kai Winding Septet.  He would collaborate with Kai Winding’s groups in various incarnations, including an octet, nonet, and The Incredible Kai Winding Trombones, which released a self-titled album in 1960. 


    In 1964, he helped Maynard Ferguson make The Blues Roar and pitched in on a pair of Carmen McRae albums, Alfie and The 1964 Orchestra Recordings.  He went on to offer brass support on Ruth Brown ’65, More Brass by Kai Winding, and Wes Montgomery’s California Dreaming.  (He would later make the cut on Compact Jazz:  Wes Montgomery and the Verve Jazz Masters retrospectives of Wes Montgomery and Benny Goodman.)  In 1968, he celebrated the Yuletide with Snowfall:  The Tony Bennett Christmas Album.  The 1970s saw him doing work with Van McCoy on Rhythms of the World and Frank Sinatra on his boxed set, Trilogy. 


    Unfortunately, much of the Messner repertoire seems to have gone missing, although some of it is available for download or on vinyl, like Clea Bradford’s Now and V.A.:  Them Dirty Blues—A Five Record Copulation Combination.  There are a few CDs that have managed to capture Johnny’s trombone stylings, including Here’s That Rainy Day by Ruth Brown and the historic recording, Benny Goodman:  Live at Carnegie Hall.  You can also catch him in action on the DVD, The Big Bands:  Volume 2, The Soundies. 


    Van McCoy recordings

    The Shuffle (Van McCoy)

    That’s the Joint (Richard Harris/Van McCoy)


    Frank Sinatra recordings

    That's What God Looks Like To Me (Stan Irvin/Lan O'Kun)

    Reprise RPS 49233 (XNY2101S) (US 45)


    Theme from "New York, New York" (Fred Ebb/John Kander)

    Reprise RPS49233 (XNY 2103 S) (US 45)



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    2. http://www.answers.com/topic/here-s-that-rainy-day-rhythm-blues-album?cat=entertainment
    3. http://www.dougpayne.com/kwdprev.htm
    4. http://music.barnesandnoble.com/Verve-Jazz-Masters-14/Wes-Montgomery/e/731451982620
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    9. http://www.dustygroove.com/browse.php?kwfilter=Mango&incl_oos=1&incl_cs=1&format=all
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    14. http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/musician_discography.php?id=8166
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    21. www.jazznblues.co.uk/Newsletters/200801.pdf
    22. http://sudo.3.pro.tok2.com/Quest/cards/V/VanMcCoy/RhythmOfTheWorld_x.html











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