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    Shepard, Tommy (31 March 1923 – 23 February 1993)

    Trombonist who didn’t start playing until he was a junior in high school, but nevertheless was performing professionally by the age of nineteen, with Ben Bernie’s orchestra.  He stayed with Bernie a year and then joined the army, where he bounced around from band to band until he wound up with Wayne King’s outfit, which was stationed in Fort Sheridan, Illinois.  In 1946, after fulfilling his military duties, Tommy headed south to Chicago and did stints with all three of the major networks. 

     

    Seven years hence, Stan Kenton offered him the first trombone chair with his concert band.  One of his first gigs with them was at the Blue Note in Chicago, from late March until early April 1953.  They also wended their way east and performed at Birdland, where they recorded “Swinghouse”, which later made the cut on the album, 23 Degrees North, 82 Degrees West.  Other recordings he made with Stan Kenton include Intermission Riff, A Merry Christmas!, and All About Ronnie, with vocalist Chris Connor.  In 1957, he moonlighted a bit with his own orchestra for a recording entitled Shepard’s Flock. 

     

    In Hollywood, Tommy became invaluable as a session man:  He recorded with most of the biggies, including Burt Bacharach, Ray Charles, Rosemary Clooney, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Bobby Darin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Terry Gibbs, Neil Hefti, Peggy Lee, Barry Manilow, Dean Martin, Harry Nilsson, Anita O’Day, Billy May, Van Dyke Parks, Tommy Pederson, Sue Raney, Nelson Riddle, Linda Ronstadt, Frank Sinatra, Don Specht, Phil Spector, Barbra Streisand, Mel Torme, Sarah Vaughan, Barry White, and Andy Williams. 

     

    He was also busy in television, as a member of the Hollywood Place brass section and on The Joey Bishop Show, which ran from 1967 to 1969.  Other television programs on which he worked included The Arthur Godfrey Show, Bonanza, The Carol Burnett Show, The Danny Thomas Show, I Love Lucy, The Love Boat, The Merv Griffin Show, The Naked City, Route 66, and The Tonight Show.  He even performed on the soundtracks of some Hanna-Barbera cartoons. 

     

    The 1970s saw the reformation of his orchestra as he continued to contract for and sometimes lead the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, all the while keeping one foot in the recording studio:  He was a member of Ralph Carmichael’s Brass Choir, went Back to Oakland with Tower of Power, set sail for the Blue Virgin Isle with Ted Gardestad, got down with Walter Murphy on Discosymphony, and reunited with Frank Sinatra on his 1979 boxed set, Trilogy.  In 1980, he appeared on Lalo Schifrin’s soundtrack to the Robert Redford prison drama, Brubaker. 

     

    Five years later, when Nelson Riddle died, he was asked to be part of a trombone choir at his memorial service.  Tommy himself passed away on 23rd February 1993 of a heart attack. 

     

    His musical legacy is considerable:  Not only is his trombone playing captured on such CD treasures as Blues in the Night:  The Johnny Mercer Songbook, Come On-A My House:  The Very Best of Rosemary Clooney, The Complete Roulette Sarah Vaughan Sessions, and Frank Sinatra’s The Complete Capitol Singles Collection, but he also leaves behind an invaluable photograph collection, which is housed at the University of Arizona School of Music.

     

    Sources:

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Shepard
    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Time_I'm_Swingin'
    3. http://albumlinernotes.com/Phil_s_Musicians.html
    4. http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/store/artist/album/0,,143843,00.html
    5. http://www.mmguide.musicmatch.com/album/album.cgi?ALBUMID=456148
    6. http://music.barnesandnoble.com/The-Complete-Capitol-Singles-Collection/Frank-Sinatra/e/724383808922
    7. http://www.christianmusicarchive.com/album_credits.php?id=3358
    8. http://www.dougpayne.com/lsd76_85.htm
    9. http://www.answers.com/topic/trilogy-vocal-music-album?cat=entertainment
    10. http://www.amazon.com/Shepards-Flock-Tommy-Shepard/dp/B000NWDU34
    11. http://www.vervemusicgroup.com/artist/releases/default.aspx?pid=11086&aid=2880
    12. http://www.ciao.se/Johnny_Mercer_Songbook_The_Remastered__255157
    13. http://www.totonetwork.com/node/4843
    14. http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/store/artist/album/0,,3691814,00.html
    15. http://www.mmguide.musicmatch.com/album/album.cgi?ALBUMID=510734
    16. http://www.cannonball-adderley.com/1510.htm
    17. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ella_Fitzgerald_Sings_the_Jerome_Kern_Songbook
    18. http://www.cduniverse.com
    19. http://www.discogs.com/release/476309
    20. http://www.mosaicrecords.com/discography.asp?number=214-MD-CD
    21. http://www.utstat.utoronto.ca/mikevans/hroberts/sounds/side60s.html
    22. http://search.reviews.ebay.co.uk/spice_W0QQfgtpZ5QQuqtZr
    23. http://www.samgoody.com/Jazz-Pops-Front-Page_stcVVproductId22154224VVcatId463278VVviewprod.htm
    24. http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/2597980
    25. http://www.cduniverse.com
    26. http://greatamericansongbook.blogspot.com/2005_09_01_archive.html
    27. http://cgi.ebay.pl/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=260217880494&indexURL
    28. http://web.cfa.arizona.edu/tommy/resume_main.html
    29. http://www.google.com
    30. http://www.jazzdiscography.com/Artists/Connor/Connor_live.html
    31. http://www.jazzdisco.org/verve/1960-dis/c/
    32. http://popculturefanboy.blogspot.com/2008/04/april-2-2008-happy-birthday-1921-boomie.html
    33. http://tpin.okcu.edu/pipermail/tpin/2006-September/036577.html
    34. http://books.google.com

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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