Rob McConnell

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Rob McConnell
Fraser MacPherson, Rob McConnell 1989.jpg
Fraser MacPherson and Rob McConnell in 1989. Photo courtesy of the Fraser MacPherson estate
Born Robert Murray Gordon McConnell
(1935-02-14)February 14, 1935
London, Ontario
Died May 1, 2010(2010-05-01) (aged 75)
Toronto, Ontario
Occupation jazz valve trombonist, composer, arranger, music educator and recording artist

Robert Murray Gordon "Rob" McConnell, OC (February 14, 1935 – May 1, 2010) was a Canadian jazz valve trombonist, composer, arranger, music educator and recording artist.[1]


McConnell was born in London, Ontario and took up the valve trombone in high school. He began his performing career in the early 1950s, performing and studying with Don Thompson, Bobby Gimby, and later with fellow Canadian Maynard Ferguson. He also studied music theory with Gordon Delamont. In 1968 he formed The Boss Brass, a big band that became his primary performing and recording unit through the 1970s and 1980s.

McConnell assembled the original Boss Brass from Toronto studio musicians. The instrumentation of the band was originally 16 pieces, consisting of trumpets, trombones, french horns and a rhythm section, but no saxophones. McConnell introduced a saxophone section in 1970, and expanded the trumpet section to include a fifth trumpet in 1976, bringing the total to 22 members.

In 1988, McConnell took a teaching position at the Dick Grove School of Music in California, but gave up his position and returned to Canada a year later. In 1997, he was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and in 1998 was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He remained active throughout the 2000s, touring internationally as both a performer and educator, running music clinics around the world and performing as a leader and a guest artist. The Rob McConnell Tentet, a scaled-down version of the Boss Brass featuring many Boss Brass alumni, has been quite successful; it has recorded three major albums, The Rob McConnell Tentet (2000), Thank You, Ted (2002), and Music of the Twenties (2003).

Rob McConnell & The Boss Brass became one of Canada's most popular jazz ensembles, performing live and recording for California's Concord Jazz label and a variety of others. Mel Tormé said of his first recording session with the Boss Brass in 1987, "Making this record was one of the two or three greatest musical experiences in my long and checkered career."[citation needed] He died on May 1, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, aged 75, from cancer.


Recordings by Rob McConnell & the Boss Brass include:

  • The Boss Brass (1968)
  • Boss Brass Two (1969)
  • The Sound of the Boss Brass (1970)
  • Rob McConnell & The Boss Brass (1971)
  • Rob McConnell's Boss Brass 4 (1972)
  • The Best Damn Band In The Land (1974)
  • The Jazz Album (1976)
  • Nobody Does It Better (1977)
  • Big Band Jazz (1978)
  • Boss Brass Again, Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 (1978)
  • Singers Unlimited with Rob McConnell & The Boss Brass (with The Singers Unlimited) (1978)
  • Are Ya Dancin' Disco (1979)
  • Live in Digital (1980)
  • Tribute (1980)
  • Present Perfect (1981)
  • All In Good Time (1982) Palo Alto Records
  • Atras Da Porta (1983)
  • Old Friends, New Music (1984)
  • Boss Brass & Woods (1985)
  • Mel Tormé/Rob McConnell & The Boss Brass (with Mel Tormé) (1987)
  • The Brass Is Back (1991)
  • Brassy & Sassy (1992)
  • Our 25th Year (1993)
  • Overtime (1994)
  • Don't Get Around Much Anymore (1995)
  • Velvet & Brass - Mel Tormé/Rob McConnell & The Boss Brass (with Mel Tormé) (1995)
  • Three For the Road (1996)
  • Even Canadians Get the Blues (1996)
  • Play The Jazz Classics (1997)
  • Big Band Christmas (1998)
  • Concord Jazz Heritage CD (1998)

With Maynard Ferguson

See also[edit]


External links[edit]