Shorty Rogers

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Shorty Rogers
Birth name Milton Rajonsky
Born (1924-04-14)April 14, 1924
Great Barrington, Massachusetts
United States
Died November 7, 1994(1994-11-07) (aged 70)
Van Nuys, California
United States
Genres Jazz, cool jazz
Occupation(s) Trumpeter, arranger, composer
Instruments Trumpet, flugelhorn
Labels
Associated acts

Milton “Shorty” Rogers (April 14, 1924 – November 7, 1994) was one of the principal creators of West Coast jazz. He played both the trumpet and flugelhorn, and was in demand for his skills as an arranger.

Biography[edit]

Rogers worked first as a professional musician with Will Bradley and Red Norvo. From 1947 to 1949, he worked extensively with Woody Herman and in 1950 and 1951 he played with Stan Kenton.[1]

Rogers appeared on the 1954 Shelly Manne album The Three and the Two along with Jimmy Giuffre. Much of the music he recorded with Giuffre showed his experimental side, resulting in an early form of avant-garde jazz. He also made notable recordings with Art Pepper and André Previn, among others.

From 1953 through 1962 Rogers recorded a series of RCA Victor albums (later reissued under the Bluebird label) and Atlantic albums with his own group, Shorty Rogers and His Giants, including Shorty Courts the Count (1954), The Swinging Mr. Rogers (1955), and Martians Come Back (1955), the album title alluding to the tune "Martians Go Home" which Rogers had composed and performed on The Swinging Mr. Rogers earlier the same year. These albums incorporated some of his more avant-garde music. To some extent they could be classified as "cool" jazz; but they also looked back to the "hot" style of Count Basie, whom Rogers always credited as a major inspiration.[2]

Credited with the composition of the music for UPA's Mr. Magoo cartoon Hotsy Footsy and the Looney Tune Three Little Bops, Rogers eventually became better known for his skills as a composer and arranger than as a trumpeter.

In the critically acclaimed 1955 film The Man with the Golden Arm, starring Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Parker, Kim Novak, Arnold Stang and Darren McGavin, and directed by Otto Preminger, the film's jazz soundtrack was played by Shorty Rogers and His Giants with Shelly Manne.

In the 1958 Peter Gunn TV series episode The Frog Shorty plays flugelhorn as Lola Albright sings How High the Moon at Mother's.

After the early 1960s Rogers stopped performing on trumpet, and left the jazz scene for many years. Among other composing and arranging activities, he arranged a series of records for The Monkees (including Daydream Believer) in the late 1960s, and in the 1970s wrote the jazzy background score to TV's The Partridge Family during the show's first season. He also contributed episode scores for the fourth season of Starsky & Hutch. Finally, in 1982, he was persuaded to pick up his trumpet and return to performing in jazz ensembles, playing first with Britain’s National Youth Jazz Orchestra and soon with Bud Shank and others. In the 1990s he was part of a Lighthouse All Stars group along with Shank, Bill Perkins, Bob Cooper, Conte Candoli, Claude Williamson, Monty Budwig, and John Guerin.

Rogers died in Van Nuys, California at the age of 70.[1]

Discography[edit]

As leader[edit]

  • Modern Sounds, Shorty Rogers & His Giants (1951; Capitol H-294)
  • Popo (1951; Xanadu)
  • Short Stops (1953; Bluebird)
  • Infinity Promenade (1953; RCA Victor 20-5503)
  • Tale of an African Lobster (1953; RCA Victor 20-5503)
  • Shorty Rogers and His "Giants" (1953; RCA Victor LPM-3137; 10 inch LP)
  • Live from the Rendezvous Ballroom 1953 (Balboa Beach, California, July 11, 1953; Scarecrow SC-801)
  • Shorty Rogers Courts the Count (1954; RCA Victor LJM-1004)
  • The Swinging Mr. Rogers (1955; Atlantic ALS-1212)
  • Martians Come Back (1955; Atlantic SD-1232)
  • Martians Stay Home (March 1, October 21 & November 3, 1955; Released in 1980 as Atlantic K50714)
  • Clickin with Clax (March 27 & 30, 1956; Released in 1979 as Atlantic K50481)
  • The Big Shorty Rogers Express (1956 RCA Victor LPM-1232)
  • Wherever the Five Winds Blow (1956; RCA Victor LPM-1326)
  • Shorty Rogers Plays Richard Rodgers (1957; RCA Victor LPM-1428)
  • Way Up There (1957; Atlantic SD-1270)
  • Portrait of Shorty (1957; RCA Victor LPM-1561)
  • Afro-Cuban Influence (1958; RCA Victor LPM/LSP-1763)
  • Chances Are It Swings (1958; RCA Victor LPM/LSP-1975)
  • The Wizard of Oz and Other Harold Arlen Songs (1959; RCA Victor LPM/LSP-1997)
  • The Swingin' Nutcracker (1960; RCA Victor LPM/LSP-2110)
  • Shorty Rogers Meets Tarzan (1960; MGM E/SE-3798)
  • The Fourth Dimension in Sound (1961; Warner Bros. W/WS-1443)
  • Bossa Nova (1962; Reprise R/R9-6050) (Reissued as Return to Rio on Discovery DS-899)
  • Jazz Waltz (1963; Reprise R/R9-6060)
  • Gospel Mission (1963; Capitol T/ST-1960)

As sideman[edit]

with Teddy Charles

As arranger[edit]

with Harvey Mandel

  • Righteous (1969; Philips PHS-600-306)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Shorty Rogers, 70, Jazz Trumpeter". The New York Times. 9 November 1994. 
  2. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Shorty Rogers: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 14 September 2010. 

External links[edit]