James E. Pugh

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James Pugh
PughFormall.jpg
James Pugh, trombonist
Background information
Birth name James Edward Pugh
Also known as Jim Pugh
Born (1950-11-12) November 12, 1950 (age 63)
Camden, NJ
Occupations Trombonist, composer
Instruments Trombone

James Edward Pugh (born November 12, 1950) is a trombonist, composer, and educator. He is noted as the lead trombonist with Woody Herman's Thundering Herd (1972–1976) and Chick Corea's Return to Forever Band (1977–1978). For 25 years, he worked as a freelance trombonist in New York City. In recent years, he toured and recorded with the rock group Steely Dan, is a founding member of the Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble, and is on faculty as Distinguished Professor of Jazz Trombone at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Early years[edit]

Born in Camden, New Jersey and raised in Butler, Pennsylvania, Pugh began studying piano at age five and trombone at age ten. Before attending the Eastman School of Music, he studied trombone with Matty Shiner of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While at Eastman, Pugh studied with Emory Remington, Donald Knaub, Chuck Mangione, Ray Wright, and was awarded Eastman's coveted Performer's Certificate. After graduating from the Eastman School of Music, Pugh toured with the Woody Herman Band and with Chick Corea before settling to New York City, where he remained for 25 years.

As a performer and recording artist[edit]

Since the 1980s, Pugh became New York's top-call freelance trombonist for film scores, records, and music for television and radio advertising. He can be heard on more than four thousand recording sessions.

His trombone is heard in collaboration with classical and popular artists and orchestras such as Yo-Yo Ma, Steely Dan, Eos, Concordia, St. Luke’s Orchestra, André Previn, Paul Simon, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Pink Floyd, and Frank Sinatra.

Pugh added his sound to feature film soundtracks including A League of Their Own, When Harry Met Sally, and Meet Joe Black; and on hit Broadway cast recordings such as City of Angels, Fosse and Victor/Victoria.

In 2003, Pugh “re-premiered” the Nathaniel Shilkret: Trombone Concerto at Carnegie Hall with Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops Orchestra. This mid-twentieth century work was written for Tommy Dorsey.

Pugh is the only recipient of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Science's Virtuoso Award for Tenor trombone, awarded after being voted Tenor Trombone MVP by the New York recording community for five years.

In 2008, NPR named his album, X Over Trombone in their list of best classical CDs of 2008.

Pulitzer Prize winning composer Charles Wuorinen wrote his Ashberyana for Pugh, the Brentano String Quartet and pianist Sarah Rothenberg, premiered with the composer conducting and later performed with James Levine conducting.[1]

As a composer[edit]

Pugh's original music and arrangements has been on National Public Radio, in film scores, on "jingles", and on record. Pugh wrote the theme music for Performance Today, the daily classical music program on public radio. His composition, Lunch with Schrödinger's Cat, received a Lincoln Center premier in 1989 by Marin Alsop and the Concordia Chamber Orchestra. Pugh premiered his "Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra" in May 1992 with the Williamsport Symphony. It received its New York premier in March 2000 with Joseph Alessi as soloist and Leonard Slatkin conducting the New York Philharmonic. A founding member of the Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble, Pugh’s compositions can be heard on a recent Signum CDs Scenes of Spirits and The Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble Plays The Music of James Pugh and Daniel Schnyder.

As an educator[edit]

Pugh is on faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In the past, he taught at SUNY-Purchase College, the University of the Arts Philadelphia, and at New York University. In the summer, he has been on faculty at the Skidmore Summer Institute of Jazz at Skidmore College. He appears at schools as a guest artist and clinician.

In the field of instrument development[edit]

Pugh has been involved with the development of the Edwards small bore tenor trombone and has worked with Dave Monette in the development of the Monette TS11 and TS 6 small shank tenor trombone mouthpiece. He plays and endorses Monette mouthpieces exclusively.

Discography[edit]

Solo projects

1981: Crystal Eyes - Pewter Records

1984: The Pugh /Taylor Project - DMP Recording

2001: Pugh Mosso - CD recorded in Brisbane, Australia with the ConArtists, big band from the Queensland Conservatorium

2002: E'nJ "Legend and Lion" with Eijiro Nakagawa - SuperKids Recording, Japanese release

2004: Echano - CD recorded in Brisbane, Australia with the ConArtists, big band from the Queensland Conservatorium

2004: E2’nJ2 - TNC Records

2006: E'nJ "Just Us" - SuperKids Recording, Japanese release

2007: X Over Trombone - Albany records

2007: Holly and The Ivy - Montclair Citadel Band of the Salvation Army

2012: "The Devil's Hopyard" - Jazzmaniac Records

2012: "Pugh Taylor II" - Pewter Records

as sideman

1972: Giant Steps, with Woody Herman

1973: Thundering Herd, with Woody Herman

1976: The 40th Anniversary Concert, with Woody Herman

1977: Musicmagic, with Chick Corea and Return to Forever

1977: Return to Forever - Live, with Chick Corea

1978: Secret Agent, with Chick Corea

1979: In a Temple Garden (CTI, 1979) with Yusef Lateef

1988: The Disney Album, with Barbara Cook

1989: When Harry Met Sally, with Harry Connick, Jr.

1992: League of Their Own, with James Taylor

1994: Mr. Gentle and Mr. Cool, with David “Fathead” Newman

1994: Scampi Fritti, with Marc Beacco

1995: Honey and Rue, with Kathleen Battle; St. Luke’s Orchestra, André Previn, conductor

1995: Rush Hour, with Joe Lovano; Gunther Schuller, conductor

1996: Two Lane Highways, with Jay Leonhart and Friends

1999: Crossing the Bridge, with Eileen Ivers

1999: Songs from the Last Century, with George Michael

2000: Eight, with Walter Blanton

2000: Two Against Nature, with Steely Dan

2002: Looking for America, with Carla Bley

2003: Alegría, with Wayne Shorter

2003: Everything Must Go, with Steely Dan

2006: "Morph the Cat", with Donald Fagen

2007: This Meets That, with John Scofield

1989–present Manhattan Jazz Orchestra – all recordings

1998–present Super Trombone – “Super Trombone,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Take Five,”, "Basie" and “Mission Impossible”

2012: "Sunken Condos", with Donald Fagen

Broadway Recordings

1992 City of Angels

1995 Will Rogers' Follies

1998 Victor/Victoria

2000 Fosse

Motion Picture Soundtracks (featured soloist)

Meet Joe Black

The Birdcage

Brighton Beach Memoirs

Shining Through

Biloxi Blues

Classical (not as soloist)

Mass, Charles Wuorinen

Ponder Nothing, The Chamber Music of Ben Johnston, Music Amici

The Music of Irwin Bazelon

Collage - New York Trombone Quartet

Bright Sheng: Lacerations, 92nd St. Y Orchestra, Gerard Schwartz, conductor

EOS Orchestra - 5 CDs for Sony-BMG

Concordia Orchestra - 6 CDs for various labels

The Silk Road Project with YoYo Ma

The Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble Plays the Music of James Pugh and Daniel Schnyder, Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble

References and external links[edit]

Books

Dietrich, Kurt. Jazz 'Bones: The World of Jazz Trombone . Advance Music. 2005. ISBN 3-89221-069-1
pp. 344–7.

Feather, Leonard. Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Seventies ISBN 0-306-80290-2

Websites
Jim Pugh's Official Website
Jim Pugh at Trombone Page of the World
NPR's Top 10 Classical Albums of 2008

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Allan Kozinn (2008-11-03). "The Cerebral Onstage, Not Without Wit". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-11-09.