Don Sebesky

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Don Sebesky
Birth nameDonald John Sebesky
Born (1937-12-10) December 10, 1937 (age 84)
Perth Amboy, New Jersey, U.S.
GenresJazz, big band
Occupation(s)Musician, arranger
InstrumentsTrombone, keyboards
Years active1956–present
Associated actsTommy Dorsey, Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, Kai Winding, Claude Thornhill

Don Sebesky (born December 10, 1937) is an American arranger, jazz trombonist, and keyboardist.


Sebesky trained in trombone at the Manhattan School of Music; in his early career, he played with Kai Winding, Claude Thornhill, Tommy Dorsey, Warren Covington, Maynard Ferguson and Stan Kenton.[1] In 1960 he began devoting himself primarily to arranging and conducting; one of his best-known arrangements was for Wes Montgomery's 1965 album Bumpin'. Other credits include George Benson's The Shape of Things to Come, Paul Desmond's From the Hot Afternoon and Freddie Hubbard's First Light. His song "Memphis Two-Step" was the title track of the Herbie Mann 1971 album of the same name. His 1973 release, Giant Box, hit #16 on the U.S. Billboard Jazz Albums chart.[2]

He has worked with such orchestras as the London Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Pops, The New York Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic of London, and the Toronto Symphony.

He has been nominated for thirty-one Grammy Awards and won three Grammys in the 1990s: Best Instrumental Arrangement for "Waltz for Debby" (1998) and for "Chelsea Bridge" (1999), and Best Instrumental Composition for "Joyful Noise Suite" (1999).[3] Twice, he won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Orchestrations, for Parade (1999), and Kiss Me, Kate (2000). Sebesky won a Tony Award for Best Orchestrations for the revival of Kiss Me, Kate (2000).

In 1975, Sebesky wrote The Contemporary Arranger, which was published with three accompanying LP phonograph records.

His Broadway theater credits include Porgy and Bess (London production by Trevor Nunn), Sinatra at the Palladium, Sweet Charity, Kiss Me, Kate, Bells Are Ringing, Flower Drum Song, Parade, The Life, Cyrano, The Goodbye Girl, The Will Rogers Follies, Sinatra at Radio City, Pal Joey, Come Fly Away, and Baby It's You!.

Sebesky's work for television has garnered three Emmy nominations, for Allegra's Window on Nickelodeon, The Edge of Night on ABC, and Guiding Light on CBS. He also composed film scores that include The People Next Door (1970), F. Scott Fitzgerald and 'The Last of the Belles' (1974), and The Rosary Murders (1987).

Sebesky has arranged for hundreds of artists, including Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, John Pizzarelli, Michael Buble, Liza Minnelli, Seal, and Prince.

Don Sebesky has been married since 1986 to Janina Serden and has two daughters with her, Olivia and Elizabeth. He has two sons from a previous marriage, Ken and Kevin and two daughters, Ali and Cymbaline.


As leader[edit]

  • Don Sebesky and the Jazz-Rock Syndrome (1968)
  • Distant Galaxy (1968)
  • Giant Box (CTI, 1973)
  • The Rape of El Morro (CTI, 1975)
  • Three Works for Jazz Soloists and Symphony Orchestra (1979, 2LP, Gryphon Records)
  • Sebesky Fantasy (1980)
  • Moving Lines (1984)
  • Full Cycle (1984)
  • Symphonic Sondheim (1991)
  • Our Love Is Here to Stay (Telarc, 1997), John Pizzarelli w/Don Sebesky combo
  • I Remember Bill: The Tribute to Bill Evans (1998)
  • Joyful Noise: A Tribute to Duke Ellington (1999)
  • Kiroron I-Kiroro Melodies (2000)

As sideman[edit]

With Stan Kenton

As arranger[edit]

With Chet Baker

With Joe Beck

With George Benson

With Willie Bobo

With Kenny Burrell

With Ron Carter

With Hank Crawford

With Paul Desmond

With Maynard Ferguson

With Astrud Gilberto

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Jim Hall

With Freddie Hubbard

With Jackie and Roy

With Milt Jackson

With J. J. Johnson and Kai Winding

With Hubert Laws

With Wes Montgomery

With Airto Moreira

With Cal Tjader

  • The Prophet (Verve, 1968)

With Stanley Turrentine

With Walter Wanderley

With Randy Weston

With Stanley Turrentine

With Kai Winding

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Biography,
  2. ^ Billboard,
  3. ^ Grammy Awards,

External links[edit]