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Biography

  • Born

    8 August 1926 (age 92)

  • Born In

    Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama, United States

Urban Clifford "Urbie" Green (August 8, 1926 – December 31, 2018) was an American jazz trombonist who toured with Woody Herman, Gene Krupa, Jan Savitt, and Frankie Carle.

He played on over 250 recordings and released more than two dozen albums as a soloist, and was highly respected by his fellow trombonists. Green's trombone sound was especially noted for its warm, mellow tone, even in the higher registers where he was more fluent than most trombonists. His technique was considered flawless by many in the music industry and has appeared in major jazz festivals, motion pictures, concert halls, nightclubs, radio, television and the White House. He was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1995.

Born in Mobile, Alabama, Green was taught the piano as a child by his mother, jazz and popular tunes from the beginning. He picked up the trombone, which both older brothers played, when he was about 12. Although he listened to such trombone greats as Tommy Dorsey, J. C. Higginbotham, Jack Jenney, Jack Teagarden and Trummy Young he has said that he was more influenced by the styles of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Lester Young. Urbie's trombone style was also influenced by vocalists such as Perry Como, and the vocal style of Louis Armstrong.

Green's father died when he was 15 and Urbie went straight into professional music, first joining the Tommy Reynolds Band in California before moving on to stints with Bob Strong, Jan Savitt, and Frankie Carle. Green also played with The Auburn Knights Orchestra, a college big band based in Auburn, Alabama while attending Auburn High School.

In 1947, Green joined Gene Krupa's band and quickly moved up to Woody Herman's third "Thundering Herd" big band in 1950 to play with his brother, Jack. His soaring ballad style was featured on such solos as Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark", and provided a contrast to Herman's previous First Herd rough-and-ready trombone star, Bill Harris. In 1953 he moved to New York City, quickly establishing himself as the premier trombonist in the booming recording industry and in 1954 he was voted the "New Star" trombonist in the International Critics Poll from Down Beat magazine. His style was not as blues-influenced as others, in that he was among the few players who commanded the high tessitura favored by Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and Jack Jenney with an agility that was not shown by these previous trombonists in their recordings. Some of his solos provided the highlights on one-hit wonder albums from Verve Records, such as that of organist Walter Wanderly, as well as established artists like Herbie Mann.

He recorded with virtually all of the major jazz musicians of the 1950s and 1960s and led his own groups while also joining tours as a featured performer, including a three-month tour leading the Benny Goodman Orchestra and fronting the Tommy Dorsey orchestra after Dorsey's death in 1956.

He collaborated with innovative producer Enoch Light for the Command and Project 3 labels, producing what are probably his most notable recordings, such as the two-volume sets The Persuasive Trombone of Urbie Green and 21 Trombones. Furthermore, he was sideman and soloist on the album project "'s Continental" by Ray Conniff and his orchestra & chorus (1961).

The 1980s and beyond saw a slowing down of Urbie Green's recording career. Both albums recorded by him during this period are live, straight jazz works; Just Friends, and Sea Jam Blues.

He spent his later life with his second wife Kathy, a jazz singer, at their home in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania. The couple have two children, Jesse and Casey. Jesse is a jazz pianist and lives nearby, while Casey is a TV / Film Director / Producer in Los Angeles, California. Urbie's first wife was Darlein Dietz and they had two children, Urban Clifford Green Jr. and James Preston Green. Urban has a daughter, Gretchen Alexandra Pöelker-Green, who lives in Sea Cliff, New York. James lives in Tallahassee, Florida, and has a son named Vincent.

In 1995 he was elected into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. Urbie Green continued playing live at the Delaware Water Gap Celebration of the Arts (COTA) Festival every September into the last years of his life, just miles down the road from his home.

Green's obituary was published in the Pocono Record.

Discography

As leader
1953 New Faces, New Sounds (Blue Note)
1954 Urbie Green Septet (Blue Note)
1954 Urbie Green and His Band (Vanguard)
1954 A Cool Yuletide (X)
1955 Blues and Other Shades of Green (ABC-Paramount)
1955 The Melodic Tones of Urbie Green (Bethlehem)
1955 East Coast Jazz, Volume 6 (Bethlehem)
1955 The Lyrical Language of Urbie Green (Bethlehem)
1955 The Melodic Tones of Urbie Green (Vanguard)
1955 Blues and Other Shades of Green (Paramount)
1956 All About Urbie Green and His Big Band (ABC-Paramount)
1957 Urbie Green Octet / Slidin' Swing (Jazztone)
1957 Let's Face the Music and Dance (RCA)
1958 Best of New Broadway Show Hits (RCA)
1960 The Persuasive Trombone of Urbie Green (Command)
1961 The Persuasive Trombone of Urbie Green Volume 2 (Command)
1963 Urbie Green and His 6-Tet. (Command)
1967 21 Trombones (Project 3)
1971 Green Power (Project 3)
1972 Bein' Green (Project 3)
1973 Old Time Modern (RCA) (recorded in 1954)
1973 21 Trombones Volume 2 (Project 3)
1974 Urbie Green's Big Beautiful Band (Project 3)
1976 The Fox (CTI)
1977 Señor Blues (CTI)
1978 Live at Rick's Cafe American (Flying Fish)
1981 Just Friends (EJ)
1995 Sea Jam Blues (Chiaroscuro)

As sideman
With Manny Albam

The Drum Suite (RCA Victor, 1956) with Ernie Wilkins
Jazz Goes to the Movies (Impulse!, 1963)

With Steve Allen

Jazz for Tonight (Coral, 1955)

With Trigger Alpert

Trigger Happy! (Riverside, 1956)

With The Count Basie Orchestra

This Time by Basie! (Reprise, 1963)
Ella and Basie! (Verve, 1963)
Basie Land (Verve, 1964)

With Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown '65 (Mainstream, 1965)

With Ray Bryant

Madison Time (Columbia, 1960)

With Kenny Burrell

Blues - The Common Ground (Verve, 1968)
Night Song (Verve, 1969)

With Ron Carter

Parade (Milestone, 1979)

With Buck Clayton
The Huckle-Buck and Robbins' Nest (Columbia, 1954)
How Hi the Fi (Columbia, 1954)
Jumpin' at the Woodside (Columbia, 1955)
All the Cats Join In (Columbia 1956)

With Al Cohn

Son of Drum Suite (RCA Victor, 1960)

With Ray Conniff

's Continental (Columbia, 1961)

With Paul Desmond

Summertime (A&M/CTI, 1968)

With Bill Evans

Symbiosis (MPS, 1974)
With Gil Evans

Into the Hot (Impulse!, 1961)

With Art Farmer

Listen to Art Farmer and the Orchestra (Mercury, 1962)

With Maynard Ferguson

The Blues Roar (Mainstream, 1965)

With Aretha Franklin

Soul '69 (Atlantic, 1969)

With Dizzy Gillespie

Gillespiana (Verve, 1960)
Perceptions (Verve, 1961)

With Johnny Griffin

White Gardenia (Riverside, 1961)

With Coleman Hawkins
The Hawk in Hi Fi (RCA Victor, 1956)
Wrapped Tight (Impulse!, 1965)

With Billie Holiday

Lady in Satin (Columbia, 1958)

With Bobby Hutcherson

Conception: The Gift of Love (Columbia, 1979)

With Milt Jackson

Ray Brown / Milt Jackson with Ray Brown (Verve, 1965)

With Antonio Carlos Jobim

Wave (CTI, 1967)
Stone Flower (CTI, 1970)

With J. J. Johnson

J.J.'s Broadway (Verve, 1963)

With Quincy Jones

The Birth of a Band! (Mercury, 1959)
The Great Wide World of Quincy Jones (Mercury, 1959)
Quincy Jones Explores the Music of Henry Mancini (Mercury, 1964)
Quincy Plays for Pussycats (Mercury, 1959-65 )

With Irene Kral

SteveIreneo! (United Artists, 1959)

With Mundell Lowe

Themes from Mr. Lucky, the Untouchables and Other TV Action Jazz (RCA Camden, 1960)
Satan in High Heels (soundtrack) (Charlie Parker, 1961)

With Herbie Mann

Sultry Serenade (Riverside, 1957)
Salute to the Flute (Epic, 1957)

With Carmen McRae

Something to Swing About (Kapp, 1959)

With Gil Mellé

Gil Mellé Quintet with Urbie Green and Tal Farlow (Blue Note, 1953)

With Blue Mitchell

Smooth as the Wind (Riverside, 1961)

With Wes Montgomery

Movin' Wes (Verve, 1964)

With Mark Murphy

Rah! (Riverside, 1961)

With Oliver Nelson

Impressions of Phaedra (United Artists Jazz, 1962)
The Spirit of '67 with Pee Wee Russell (Impulse!, 1967)

With Joe Newman

I'm Still Swinging (RCA Victor, 1955)
Salute to Satch (RCA Victor, 1956)

With Chico O'Farrill

Nine Flags (Impulse!, 1966)

With Glenn Osser

In My Merry Oldsmobile (DaJon, 1964)

With Henri Rene

Compulsion to Swing (RCA Victor, 1959)

With Lalo Schifrin

New Fantasy (Verve, 1964)
The Dissection and Reconstruction of Music From the Past as Performed By the Inmates of Lalo Schifrin's Demented Ensemble as a Tribute to the Memory of the Marquis De Sade (Verve, 1966)
Towering Toccata (CTI, 1976)

With Shirley Scott

Great Scott!! (Impulse!, 1964)

With Frank Sinatra

L.A. Is My Lady (Qwest, 1984)

With Jimmy Smith

Bashin': The Unpredictable Jimmy Smith (Verve, 1962)
The Cat (Verve, 1964)

With Sonny Stitt

The Matadors Meet the Bull (Roulette, 1965)
I Keep Comin' Back! (Roulette, 1966)

With Stanley Turrentine

Nightwings (Fantasy, 1977)

With Walter Wanderley

Rain Forest (Verve, 1966)

With Dinah Washington

The Swingin' Miss "D" (EmArcy, 1956)

With Joe Wilder

The Pretty Sound (Columbia, 1959)

With Kai Winding

More Brass (Verve, 1966)
Dirty Dog (Verve, 1966)

With Steve Lawrence

Swingin' West

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