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Don Rader

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An excellent straight-ahead bop soloist, Don Rader is a perfect example of a jazz musician who would have been much more famous had he lived in New York during much of his career. Rader started playing trumpet when he was five (his father was his first teacher) and was always technically skilled. After attending Sam Houston State Teachers College and serving in the Army, he played and wrote arrangements for the big bands of Woody Herman (1959-1961), Maynard Ferguson (1961-1963), and Count Basie (1963-1964). Rader had shorter stints with Louie Bellson, Harry James, Terry Gibbs, and Frank Foster's quintet, was often used by Henry Mancini for his recordings, and toured extensively with Les Brown (on and off during 1967-1972) and Stan Kenton. In 1972 Rader formed his own quintet, settling in the Los Angeles area and working with many top local musicians including Lanny Morgan and the early Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band. A busy jazz educator too, Rader moved to Australia in the mid-'90s, staying active (if unheralded) as both a trumpeter and a teacher. As a leader, Rader has recorded for DRM (1973), PRB (1976), Discovery (1978), Jet Danger (1980), Bellaphon (1994), and Tall Poppies (1998). During the new millennium Don Rader continued to tour worldwide as both a leader and ensemble member, and the album Odyssey, by a new version of the Don Rader Quintet, was recorded in 2006 and released on the New Market label the following year. ~ Scott Yanow

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21 October 1935 in Rochester, PA

Years Active:

'50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s