Eddie Bert, Trombonist
Trombonist Eddie Bert's career spans nearly seven decades of jazz, from big bands to bebop and beyond. In addition to being a jazz musician who's played with one and all, he's been a regular in Broadway show bands, and a first call studio player. Yet no matter what the musical setting, Eddie has always played his uniquely personal, warm and melodic style of jazz.
When renowned jazz leaders needed a dependable, original trombonist for a significant recording or event in the second half of the twentieth century, they turned to Eddie Bert. In fact, his resume reads like a Who's Who of modern Jazz, including musical relationships with Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Coleman Hawkins, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, Machito, Tito Puente, Benny Goodman, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis.
There's a reason Eddie Bert has played with the jazz masters--he's a truly gifted musician, a trombonist who has easily traversed eras and genres, from bop to swing, Mingus to Hampton, and Kenton to Herman. Eddie straddled the racial divide as well. He played in one of the first integrated big bands, Charlie Barnet's 1943 aggregation, which included Howard McGhee, Buddy DeFranco and Oscar Pettiford.
In addition to being one of the most dependable players in jazz history, always in demand because of his sight-reading skills and his ability to lend a passionate and individual approach to all music, Eddie is a soloist and arranger with a distinctive musical voice. In 1955, when he stopped playing only to sleep, he won Metronome's Musician of the Year award. He followed that with a top rated album of the same name for Savoy. He has led a number of other recordings during his distinguished career, featuring such sidemen as Duke Jordan, Joe Morello, Hank Jones and Kenny Clarke.
Yet during Eddie's teenage years, 52nd Street was a hotbed of musical activity. At fifteen, he began frequenting "The Street," where musicians of all generations played and gathered nightly. Being too young to get into the clubs at night, Eddie hung around during the afternoon when he knew the bands would be rehearsing.
Fast-forwarding several decades, in the 1990s Eddie started working with drummer T.S. Monk's group. "We did a European tour in 1997 and an album that featured a lot of Thelonious' new material that T. S. had found around the house. He hired me because I had played with his father-if you hang around long enough, you find that you have played with everyone's father!"
Now in his eighth decade, Eddie Bert is still playing the trombone, still traveling, and still married to Mollie, his wife of 60+ years. With three daughters and four grandchildren, he enjoys spending time with his family and, when not playing, also likes photography.