Jazz Trombone History: Zue Robertson, Herb Flemming, Tom Brown

Added three more early jazz trombone history entries to the 20th Century Timeline:

c. 1910—C. Alvin “Zue” Robertson, a New Orleans native, tours with the band that accompanies the famous Kit Carson Wild West Show. He becomes a member of the well-known Olympia Brass Band by the mid-1910s, later joining the jazz migration to Chicago. He performs in Chicago with jazz legends Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, and W.C. Handy. One of the few fellow trombonists to draw praise from Kid Ory, Robertson is described by Ory as “a smooth trombone–he was good…He lived a block from me. We practiced together…He was a good piano player and a good bass, too, studied piano, read music” (Dietrich 16).

1914—New Orleans, Louisiana: A band led by trombonist Tom Brown is hired to accompany a New Orleans vaudeville act. According to historians, the band creates so much interest that the “music almost overwhelmed the two vaudevillians.” The band is later invited to perform in Chicago (where it bills itself as “Brown’s New Orleans Jass Band”) and New York, eventually changing its name to the Five Rubies (Dietrich 16).

1917—Herb Flemming, one of the few early jazz trombonists not from New Orleans (he was born in Montana but moved to New York as a youth), goes to France with James Reese Europe’s 369th US Infantry Band (the “Hell Fighters’). One of the most internationally active early jazz trombonists, Flemming later  tours throughout Europe, South America, and even China. During his time spent in the US, Flemming records with Ethel Waters and trumpeter Johnny Dunn, as well as performing with such legendary band leaders as Earl Hines, Fats Waller, Benny Carter, and Tommy Dorsey (Dietrich 17).