Willie Dennis

born on 10/1/1926 in Philadelphia, PA, United States

died on 8/7/1965 in New York City, NY, United States

Links www.discogs.com (English)

Willie Dennis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Willie Dennis

Willie Dennis (née William DeBerardinis, January 10, 1926, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – July 8, 1965, New York City) was an American jazz trombonist[1][2][3][4] known as a big band musician but who was also an influential bebop soloist.[5] He died in an automobile accident in New York in 1965.[6]


After working with Elliot Lawrence,[7] Claude Thornhill,[8] and Sam Donahue,[9] Dennis also performed with Charles Mingus,[10] appearing on two of Mingus's more successful albums in 1959, Blues & Roots[11] and Mingus Ah Um.[12] In 1953, Dennis recorded Four Trombones[13] (released in 1957) for Mingus's Debut Records. The other three trombones were J. J. Johnson,[14] Kai Winding[15] and Bennie Green.[16]

The fullest recorded example of Dennis's solo work, however, is on a little-known 1956 Savoy disc by English pianist Ronnie Ball[17] (like Dennis, a student of Tristano[18]), All About Ronnie,[19] in the company of Ted Brown,[20] Wendell Marshall[21] and Kenny Clarke.[22]

In the late 1950s Dennis returned to his big band roots, joining Buddy Rich[23] in 1959 after stints with Benny Goodman,[24] (with whom he travelled to the Soviet Union in 1962) and Woody Herman.[25]

In the 1960s, Dennis also performed often with Gerry Mulligan.[26]

Personal life

Relationships and family

He married singer Morgana King in 1961. They had only been married for a few years when he died in 1965 in an automobile accident in Central Park, New York City.[6][27] They had no children.


Style and influence

Dennis was renowned for his extremely fast articulation on the trombone, obtained by means of varying the natural harmonics of the instrument with minimal recourse to the slide (a technique known as "against the grain").


With Cannonball Adderley

  • Domination (Capitol, 1965)

With Manny Albam

  • Jazz Goes to the Movies (Impulse!, 1962)

With Mundell Lowe

  • Themes from Mr. Lucky, the Untouchables and Other TV Action Jazz (RCA Camden, 1960)

With Gary McFarland

  • Point of Departure (Impulse!, 1963)

With Charles Mingus

  • Blues & Roots (Atlantic, 1959)
  • Mingus Ah Um (Columbia, 1959)
  • The Complete Town Hall Concert (Blue Note, 1962 [1994])

With Oliver Nelson

  • Full Nelson (Verve, 1963)

With Buddy Rich

  • Richcraft (Mercury, 1959)
  • Rich Versus Roach (Mercury, 1959)
  • The Driver (EmArcy, 1960)

With Shirley Scott

  • Great Scott!! (Impulse!, 1964)


  1. Carr, Fairweather, Priestley. The Rough Guide to Jazz (2004) pp. 209 - ISBN 1-84353-256-5
  2. Berendt, Joachim Ernst The New Jazz Book, A History and Guide (1962), pp. 314
  3. Porter, Lewis. John Coltrane, His Life and Music (2000) pp. 59 - ISBN 0-472-08643-X
  4. Bogdanov, Woodstra, Erlewine. All Music Guide to Jazz, The Definitive Guide to Jazz Music (2002) pp. 877 - ISBN 0-87930-717-X
  5. "Evolution of the Jazz Trombone", Part Three: Bebop, by David M. Wilken
  6. 6.0 6.1 Jack, Gordon Fifties Jazz Talk, An Oral Retrospective (2004) pp. 85 - ISBN 0-8108-4997-6
  7. Elliot Lawrence at [Willie Dennis at All Music Guide Allmusic]
  8. Claude Thornhill at [Willie Dennis at All Music Guide Allmusic]
  9. Sam Donahue at [Willie Dennis at All Music Guide Allmusc]
  10. Charles Mingus
  11. Blues and Roots 2008 record label Rhino CD Import release
  12. Album titled" Mingus Ah Um 1999 record label Sony Records CD release
  13. The Four Trombones, The Debut Recordings 1991 record label Prestige CD release
  14. J. J. Johnson
  15. Kai Winding at All About Jazz
  16. Bennie Green at All About Jazz
  17. Ronnie Ball at [Willie Dennis at All Music Guide Allmusic]
  18. Lennie Tristano at All About Jazz
  19. Album titled: All About Ronnie 1994 record label Savoy Jazz CD release
  20. Ted Brown at All About Jazz
  21. Wendell Marshall at [Willie Dennis at All Music Guide Allmusic]
  22. Kenny Clarke at [Willie Dennis at All Music Guide Allmusic]
  23. Buddy Rich
  24. Benny Goodman
  25. Woody Herman at Solid!
  26. Gerry Mulligan
  27. Liner notes by Fr. Norman O'Connors - Morgana King album It's A Quiet Thing

External links

This page was last modified 20.08.2013 11:56:59

This article uses material from the article Willie Dennis from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.