Tom Talbert

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Thomas Robert Talbert (August 4, 1924 Crystal Bay, Minnesota – July 2, 2005 Los Angeles) was an American jazz pianist, composer, and band leader.[1]


He was born on August 4, 1924, in Crystal Bay, Minnesota, and grew up listening to big band music on the radio.[2]

He got started as a band leader when he was drafted in the Army in 1943, becoming composer for a military band at Fort Ord, California, performing for War Bond drives throughout California.[2]

In the late 1940s, he led his own big band on the West Coast, much of his work foreshadowing what became known as West Coast jazz before moving to New York in the early 1950s after being denied a recording contract in LA[2]

In 1956, he recorded two records that would become his best known works, Wednesday's Child and Bix Duke Fats, gaining him fleeting fame.

When rock and roll eclipsed jazz in popularity, he moved to his parents' home in Minnesota in 1960, tried his hand at cattle ranching in Wisconsin, before eventually moving back to Los Angeles and a musical career in 1975.

In addition to composing for TV and movie studios, he became involved in music education,[2] and set up a foundation to help talented young musicians, with one of the first recipients (in 1996) being Maria Schneider.

He died July 2, 2005.[3]


Talbert has worked together with many other famous musicians. Some include:

Los Angeles in the 40s:

New York in the 50s:

Selected discography[edit]

As sideman

With the Boyd Raeburn Orchestra
With Johnny Richards
Note: no details except Tom Talbert, arranger
With Patty McGovern, accompanied by the Tom Talbert Orchestra

As leader

External links[edit]


General references

Inline citations

  1. ^ Bruce Talbot, Tom Talbert – His Life and Times: Voices From a Vanished World of Jazz, Scarecrow Press (2004)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Bruce Talbot. "Jazz Profiles from NPR: Tom Talbert". NPR. OCLC 768834140. Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  3. ^ Obituary: Talbert, Tom; 80; Los Angeles, Star Tribune (Minneapolis), July 10, 2005