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Benny Powell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Benny Powell (March 1, 1930 – June 26, 2010) was an American jazz trombonist. He played both standard (tenor) trombone and bass trombone.[1][2]

Benny Powell
Benny Powell in 1962
Benny Powell in 1962
Background information
Birth nameBenjamin Gordon Powell Jr.
Born1 March 1930
New Orleans, Louisiana
Died26 June 2010
Years active1951-1994


Born Benjamin Gordon Powell Jr in New Orleans, Louisiana, he first played professionally at the age of 14, and at 18 began playing with Lionel Hampton. In 1951 he left Hampton's band and began playing with Count Basie, in whose orchestra he would remain until 1963. Powell takes the trombone solo in the bridge of Basie's 1955 recording of "April in Paris".[3]

After leaving Basie, he freelanced in New York City. From 1966 to 1970 he was a member of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, playing on Monday nights at the Village Vanguard. Among other engagements, he played in the house band of the Merv Griffin Show, and when the show moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1970 Powell also relocated there. He did extensive work as a session musician, including with Abdullah Ibrahim, John Carter, and Randy Weston. Later in his career Powell worked as an educator, including as part of the Jazzmobile project. Having moved back to New York in the 1980s, he began teaching at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in 1994.

He died in a Manhattan hospital at the age of 80, following back surgery.


Powell married Evelyn Jackson at St Bernard Catholic Church in New York in 1958.[4]


As leader[edit]

  • Coast to Coast (Trident, 1982)
  • The Gift of Love (Faith, 2003)
  • Nextep (Origin, 2008)

As sideman[edit]

With Pepper Adams

With Gene Ammons

With Count Basie

With Donald Byrd

With Benny Carter

With John Carter

  • Castles of Ghana (Gramavision, 1986)
  • Dance of the Love Ghosts (Gramavision, 1987)
  • Fields (Gramavision, 1988)
  • Shadows on a Wall [Gramavision, 1989)

With Buck Clayton

With Hank Crawford

With Dameronia

With Frank Foster

With Al Grey

With Eddie Harris

With Jimmy Heath

With Johnny Hodges

With J. J. Johnson

With Clifford Jordan

With Bobby Bland and B.B. King

with Melba Liston

With Herbie Mann

With Les McCann

With David Newman

With Joe Newman

With Chico O'Farrill

With Moacir Santos

With Frank Wess

With Randy Weston

With Gerald Wilson


  1. ^ Benny Powell at AllMusic
  2. ^ New York Times obituary
  3. ^ "Discography". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2012-12-31.
  4. ^ Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 1958-10-16. p. 63.