Don Lusher OBE (6 November 1923 - 5 July 2006) was a jazz and big band trombonist best known for his association with the Ted Heath Big Band. In a career spanning more than 60 years, he played trombone with a number of jazz orchestras and bands and was twice President of the British Trombone Society.
Early life and career
Lusher was born in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and started playing the trombone aged six years old in his local Salvation Army band, the third generation of his family to do so. When World War II broke out he served as a gunner signaller in the Royal Artillery, after being demobbed he became a professional musician playing with the bands of Joe Daniels, Lou Preager, Maurice Winnick, the Squadronaires, Jack Parnell and lastly, the Ted Heath Big Band.
Lusher spent nine years as lead trombone with Ted Heath's Orchestra and toured the United States several times. Ted Heath died in the late 1960s and after several attempts to revive the band, Don took over the leadership in 1976 at the request of Ted Heath's widow, Moira. He then lead the band until December 2000, when there was a sell out final concert at the Royal Festival Hall. He also led the trombone section during many of Frank Sinatra's European tours.
Lusher formed his own ensemble, the Don Lusher Big Band. He also performed with the Manhattan Sound Big Band, with Alexis Korner and various session musicians in the big band-rock fusion group CCS amongst others, and was a member of the Best of British Jazz group from the 1970s onwards.
He spent some years as a Professor of the Royal College of Music (Big Band) before becoming Professor of Trombone at the Royal Marines School of Music, Portsmouth in 1997, a post he retired from in 2004.
In 2001 Don recorded an album on the Decca label, it featured Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk, John Chilton and the Feetwarmers, John Dankworth, Humphrey Lyttelton and George Melly. It was entitled British Jazz Legends Together.