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]

  • The Frank Rosolino Sextet (Affinity, 1954 – AFF61, LP only)
  • Frank Rosolino - Kenton Presents Jazz (Capitol; 1954, 1956 LP)
  • Frankly Speaking! - Kenton Presents Jazz (Capitol, 1955 LP)
  • I Play Trombone, (Bethlehem, 1956)
  • Frank Rosolino Quintet (Mode Records, 1957)
  • Free for All (Specialty, 1958 SP-2161, OJCCD 1763-2)
  • Turn Me Loose (Reprise, 1961)
  • Fond Memories of Frank, (Double-Time, 1996)
  • Thinking About You (Sackville, 1976)
  • Conversation (RCA, 1974; CD re-issue 2009)
  • Trombone Heaven (Live in Vancouver) (1978)
  • Frank Talks (1998)
  • Complete Recordings of the Frank Rosolino Quartet featuring Sonny Clark (2005)
  • Last Recording (Sea Breeze Jazz, 2006)
  • Let's Make It – Frank Rosolino Quintet (2008)

As a sideman[edit]

With Georgie Auld

With Chet Baker

With Elmer Bernstein

With Buddy Bregman

With Conte Candoli

  • Conte Candoli & Lee Morgan - Double or Nothin' (Fresh Sound, 1992)

With Benny Carter

With Buddy Collette

With June Christy

With Bob Cooper

With Paulinho Da Costa

With Victor Feldman

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Benny Golson

With Quincy Jones

With Stan Kenton

With Barney Kessel

With Johnny Mandel

With Shelly Manne

With Gerry Mulligan

With Anita O'Day

With Shorty Rogers

With Pete Rugolo

With Moacir Santos

With Lalo Schifrin

With Bud Shank

With Horace Silver

With Zoot Sims

With Sonny Stitt

Other albums
  • Zoot SIMS & Frank ROSOLINO (Vogue VG 655622), 1953
  • Stan Levey Stanley the Steamer (Bethlehem BCP 1017, Affinity CD AFF 768) 1954–55
  • Stan Levey This Time the Drums On Me (LP) Bethlehem BCP-37 US 1955
  • Howard Roberts Quartet Something's Cookin' (Capitol/EMI ST 2241), 1965
  • Trombones Unlimited, These Bones Are Made for Walkin' (Liberty Records LST-3449) 1966
  • Trombones Unlimited, Holiday for Trombones (Liberty Records LST-7527) 1966
  • Trombones Unlimited, One of Those Songs (Liberty Records LST-7549 ) 1968
  • Trombones Unlimited, Grazing in the Grass (Liberty Records LST-7591) 1968
  • Tutti's Trombones (Bainbridge – BCD2049), 1970
  • June Christy 1977 (Storyville/ STCD 4168) 1977
  • First Flight Don Menza with Alan Broadbent, Frank Strazzeri and others, 1977
  • Supersax
  • Conversation (RCA TPL1-1509 [LP only]), 1973
  • Trombomania! (Affinity CD AFF 761) [dual set with Kai Winding/JJ Johnson], 1956
  • Buddy Rich This One's for Basie (Norgran MGN-1086/Verve 817 788-2) 1956
  • Helen Humes 'Tain't Nobody's Biz-ness If I Do (Contemporary S-7571/OJCCD-453-2) 1959
  • Mel Tormé Tormé (Verve 823 010-2)
  • Mel Tormé Swings Shubert Alley (Verve – 821 581-2)
  • Mel Tormé The Duke Ellington and Count Basie Songbooks (Verve 823 248-2)
  • Jazz Scene USA (Hosted by Oscar Brown, Jr.) 1962


  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]