Saturday, January 3, 2015

Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra Early Personnel

When Thad Jones and Mel Lewis first began drawing up who they most wanted to hire for their new big band, the choices weren't necessarily the same as those who eventually made it to the first rehearsals or the first gig at the Village Vanguard. In the left column are those who were originally slated for the band. The right column are those who made the first Vanguard gig on 7 February 1966. Who thinks Nick Travis would've taken the concertmaster chair over Snooky Young? Who laments the fact that neither Phil Woods nor Clark Terry made it to the band? Phil Woods did sub for Jerome Richardson occasionally but is there any record of Clark Terry playing in the orchestra? On the Chuck Stewart photo below, who can identify the personnel (other than Thad, Mel, Dodgion, Richardson, Herman)? Is that Eddie Jones on bass?

Thad Jones +

trumpet trumpet
Snooky Young (lead?) Snooky Young (lead)
Nick Travis (lead?) Jimmy Nottingham (Travis deceased)
Jimmy Maxwell Bill Berry (subbing for Maxwell)
Clark Terry Jimmy Owens (Terry's absence unexplained)

trombone trombone
Bob Brookmeyer (lead)  Bob Brookmeyer (lead)
Willie Dennis  Garnett Brown (Dennis deceased)
choice not known Jack Rains
choice not known Cliff Heather

Phil Woods (lead) Jerome Richardson (lead)
choice not known Jerry Dodgion
Wayne Shorter Joe Farrell
choice not known Eddie Daniels
Pepper Adams Marv Holladay (subbing for Adams)

Hank Jones Hank Jones
guitar not planned            Sam Herman
choice not known Richard Davis
Mel Lewis                         Mel Lewis

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