Frank Rosolino

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Frank Rosolino
Born(1926-08-20)August 20, 1926
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
DiedNovember 26, 1978(1978-11-26) (aged 52)
Van Nuys, California
Years active1945 - 1978
Associated actsGene Krupa, Stan Kenton, Carl Fontana, Curtis Fuller, J.J. Johnson

Frank Rosolino (August 20, 1926 – November 26, 1978) was an American jazz trombonist.[1]


Born in Detroit, Michigan, United States,[1] Frank Rosolino studied the guitar with his father from the age of nine. He took up the trombone at age 14 while he was enrolled at Miller High School, where he played with Milt Jackson in the school's stage band and small group. He did not graduate. He joined the 86th Division Army Band during World War II.[citation needed]

Following his time in the Army, he returned home to Detroit. He performed in the Mirror Ballroom or the Bluebird with other musicians, such as Kenny Burrell, Paul Chambers, Tommy Flanagan, and the Jones brothers, Hank, Thad, and Elvin). He played with Charlie Parker in the 3 Deuces on 52nd Street in New York City.[citation needed]

During these years Rosolino was also performing with the big bands of Bob Chester, Glen Gray,[1] Tony Pastor, Herbie Fields, Gene Krupa, and Stan Kenton. After a period with Kenton he settled in Los Angeles, where he performed with Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars (1954–1960) in Hermosa Beach.[2]

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, between nightclub engagements, Rosolino was active in many Los Angeles recording studios where he performed with such notables as Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee, Mel Tormé, Michel Legrand, and Quincy Jones. In the mid-to-late 1960s he and fellow trombonist Mike Barone, billed as "Trombones Unlimited," recorded for Liberty Records several albums of pop-style arrangements of current hits, such as the 1968 album Grazing in the Grass. He can also be seen performing with Shelly Manne's group in the film I Want to Live! (1958) starring Susan Hayward, and also in Sweet Smell of Success (1957) with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis. He was a regular on The Steve Allen Show and a guest artist on The Tonight Show and The Merv Griffin Show. Rosolino was a talented vocalist, renowned for his wild form of scat-singing, notably on Gene Krupa's hit record, "Lemon Drop".[1] He recorded one vocal album, Turn Me Loose!, featuring both his singing and trombone playing. He can also be seen performing in the half-hour syndicated program Jazz Scene USA, hosted by Oscar Brown, Jr.[citation needed]

It was during the 1970s that Rosolino performed and toured with Quincy Jones and the Grammy Award winning group Supersax.[1]

Rosolino's private life was highly troubled. On November 26, 1978, Rosolino shot both of his sons as they slept. One died instantly; the other survived, but was blinded.[1] Rosolino shot himself in the head immediately after shooting his sons and died.[3][4]


As leader[edit]

  • Frank Rosolino (Capitol, 1954)
  • Frankly Speaking (Capitol, 1955)
  • I Play Trombone (Bethlehem, 1956)
  • Frank Rosolino Quintet (Mode, 1957)
  • Turn Me Loose! (Reprise, 1961)
  • Jazz a Confronto 4 (Horo, 1973)
  • Conversation with Conte Candoli (RCA Victor, 1976)
  • Just Friends with Conte Candoli (MPS, 1977)
  • Thinking About You (Sackville, 1984)
  • Free for All (Speciality, 1986)
  • The Last Recording (Sea Breeze, 2006)

As sideman[edit]

With Francy Boland

  • Blue Flame (MPS/BASF 1976)
  • Red Hot (MPS, 1977)
  • White Heat (MPS, 1978)

With June Christy

  • Fair and Warmer! (Capitol, 1957)
  • June's Got Rhythm (Capitol, 1958)
  • June Christy Recalls Those Kenton Days (Capitol, 1959)
  • Do-Re-Mi (Capitol, 1961)
  • Big Band Specials (Capitol, 1962)
  • Impromptu (Interplay, 1977)

With Terry Gibbs

  • Launching a New Band (Mercury, 1959)
  • The Exciting Terry Gibbs Big Band (Verve, 1961)
  • Explosion! (Mercury, 1962)

With Quincy Jones

  • The Hot Rock OST (Prophesy, 1972)
  • Body Heat (A&M, 1974)
  • Mellow Madness (A&M, 1975)
  • I Heard That!! (A&M, 1976)

With Stan Kenton

With Skip Martin

  • Scheherajazz (Pye/Golden Guinea 1959)
  • Songs and Sounds from the Era of the Untouchables (Somerset 1960)
  • Perspectives in Percussion Vol. 1 (Somerset/Stereo-Fidelity, 1961)
  • Perspectives in Percussion Vol. 2 (Somerset/Stereo-Fidelity, 1961)

With Shorty Rogers

With Pete Rugolo

With Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars

  • Vol. 6 (Contemporary, 1955)
  • Lighthouse at Laguna (Contemporary, 1956)
  • Volume Three (Contemporary, 1956)
  • Music for Lighthousekeeping (Contemporary, 1957)
  • Double or Nothin' (Liberty, 1957)
  • In the Solo Spotlight! (Contemporary, 1957)
  • Jazz Rolls Royce (Lighthouse, 1958)
  • Jazz Structures (Philips, 1961)

With Supersax

  • Supersax Plays Bird with Strings (Capitol, 1975)
  • Chasin' the Bird (MPS, 1977)
  • Dynamite!! (MPS, 1979)

With Mel Torme

  • Mel Torme, Swings Shubert Alley (Verve, 1960)
  • Mel Torme, I Dig the Duke/I Dig the Count (Verve, 1962)
  • Mel Torme, A Day in the Life of Bonnie and Clyde (Liberty, 1968)

With others


  1. ^ a b c d e f Colin Larkin, ed. (2002). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Fifties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 373/4. ISBN 1-85227-937-0.
  2. ^ "Frank Rosolino: Biography" AllMusic.
  3. ^ Lees, Gene (1988). Meet Me at Jim & Andy's: Jazz Musicians and Their World. Oxford University Press. pp. 115–119. ISBN 0195046110.
  4. ^ Owen Cordle (May 2007). "Frank Rosolino The Last Recording". Jazz Times. Retrieved September 22, 2016.

External links[edit]