Jazz/classical trombonist Don Immel (pronounced em-uhl) is the grandson of Earl Immel, a professor of music at Valley College in Los Angeles, CA; the son of Dean Immel, a public school music director; and the nephew of Jerrold Immel, a composer for film and television. He was born in Simi Valley, CA, spent his childhood in San Diego, and attended high school in Auburn, WA. He studied piano from ages seven to 11 and began playing the trombone at nine. He earned two undergraduate music degrees from Central Washington University, in performance and music education, and taught in public schools for two years, then enrolled at Rice University in Texas, earning a Master of Music degree in trombone performance. He taught at Pacific Lutheran University, then at the University of Washington. He moved to Hawaii to become the principal trombonist with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and later became the principal trombonist for the South Jutland Symphony Orchestra in Denmark, which necessitated a move to that country. In addition to his classical and academic activities, he has appeared onstage backing such performers as Chris Botti, Doc Severinsen, Cyrus Chestnut, Jon Faddis, Billy Childs, Larry Coryell, Renee Fleming, Elvis Costello, Bernadette Peters, and Linda Ronstadt, and played on numerous movie soundtracks including The Matrix 3: Revolutions, The Newton Boys, The Mothman Prophecies, Keeping the Faith, and Crocodile Dundee in L.A.
Throughout his career, Immel organized and played with several jazz, rock and ska bands, as well as modern classical ensembles. In 2007, to promote the primacy of the trombone as an instrument, he released his first solo album, Long Way Home, on Elemental Records. ~ William Ruhlmann