Frank Rosolino

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Frank Rosolino
Born (1926-08-20)August 20, 1926
Detroit, Michigan, US
Died November 26, 1978(1978-11-26) (aged 52)
Van Nuys, California, US
Cause of death Suicide by gunshot
Other names "The Lemon Drop Kid"[1]
Occupation Musician, Trombonist

Frank Rosolino (August 20, 1926 – November 26, 1978) was an American jazz trombonist. He shot both of his sons, one fatally, before committing suicide in 1978.


Born in Detroit, Michigan, Frank Rosolino studied the guitar with his father from the age of 9. 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. Having never graduated, Rosolino joined the 86th Division Army Band during World War II.

After Rosolino returned to Detroit following his period in the Army, he often sat in at the Mirror Ballroom or the Bluebird, where other renowned musicians also congregated: the Jones brothers (Hank, Thad, and Elvin), Tommy Flanagan, Kenny Burrell, Paul Chambers. Later on he also sat in at the 3 Deuces on 52nd Street in New York City with Charlie Parker. During these years Rosolino was also performing with the big bands of Bob Chester, Glen Gray, 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 among others. 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 also a regular on The Steve Allen Show and a guest artist on The Tonight Show and The Merv Griffin Show. Rosolino was also a talented vocalist, renowned for his wild form of scat-singing. 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.

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

In 1978, Rosolino shot both of his sons as they slept - one died instantly; the other survived, but was blinded. Rosolino shot himself in the head immediately after shooting his sons and died.[3]


As Leader[edit]

  • The Frank Rosolino Sextet (LP only – Affinity – AFF61), 1954
  • I Play Trombone, 1956
  • Free for All (Specialty SP-2161, OJCCD 1763-2), 1958
  • Turn Me Loose, 1961
  • Fond Memories of Frank, 1996 Double-Time Records
  • Thinking About You, 1976
  • Conversations, 1973 (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, 2006
  • Let's Make It – Frank Rosolino Quintet, 2008

As a sideman[edit]

With Georgie Auld

With Chet Baker

With Elmer Bernstein

With Benny Carter

With Buddy Collette

With Bob Cooper

With Paulinho Da Costa

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Stan Kenton

With Barney Kessel

With Johnny Mandel

With Shelly Manne

With Gerry Mulligan

With Shorty Rogers

With Moacir Santos

With Lalo Schifrin

With Bud Shank

With Horace Silver

With Sonny Stitt

Other albums
  • Stan Kenton New Concepts of Artistry in Rhythm (Capitol Jazz CDP 7 92865 2),1952
  • 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 Records BCP-37 US 1955
  • Howard Roberts Quartet Something's Cookin' (Capitol/EMI ST 2241), 1965
  • 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 Torme (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. ^ Mark Gardner and Barry Kernfeld. "Rosolino, Frank". In Macy, Laura. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press.  (subscription required)
  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. 

External links[edit]