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Encyclopedia > Frankie Trumbauer

Frankie (Tram) Trumbauer (19011956) was one of the leading jazz saxophonists of the 1920s and 1930s. He played C-melody saxophone, which in size is between an alto and tenor saxophone.


Trumbauer is, more than anything, remembered for being the musical companion of Bix Beiderbecke, a companionship that produced some of the finest and most inovative jazz records of the late 1920s.


He was recruited by Bix Beiderbecke for Jean Goldkette's Victor Recording Orchestra, of which he became musical director. In the late 1920s he cut several popular sides with Beiderbecke, including the legendary "Singin' the Blues." After leaving Goldkette, he and Beiderbecke worked briefly for Adrian Rollini, then joined Paul Whiteman's band in 1927. He played with Whiteman for eight of the following nine years.


In 1936 he led the Three T's, featuring the Teagarden brothers; in 1938, he and Manny Klein started a band which they co-led. During World War II, he was assigned to the Civil Aeronautics Authority, where he was a test pilot. He continued to work for the CAA after the war, and also played in the NBC Orchestra. After 1947, although he continued to play and record, he earned most of his income outside music.


Trumbauer's cool style and slow vibrato influenced many important saxophonists, including Benny Carter and Lester Young.


  Results from FactBites:
 
PBS - JAZZ A Film By Ken Burns: Selected Artist Biography - Frankie Trumbauer (385 words)
After serving in the US Navy during World War I, Frankie Trumbauer became a professional musician, working first in local bands before moving to Chicago to play and record with the Benson Orchestra and Ray Miller.
By this time Trumbauer's originality was easily discernible, and in 1927 he gained his own recording contract with Okeh, leading to the creation of some of the most important recordings of the era by white jazz musicians.
Trumbauer played most members of the saxophone family but specialized in alto and C-melody saxophones; he was only successful jazz specialist on the C-melody instrument.
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