Saturday, May 31, 2008

R.I.P.: Chauncey Welsch

Chauncey Welsch
(Born May 13, 1927 in New York, NY;
Died May 25, 2008, in Los Angeles, CA)
Just became aware that top-class trombonist Chauncey Welsch passed away some days ago. Although admired by fellow musicians and producers, Chauncey, that was a first-call session player for over 5o decades, never received a small percent of the degree of public recognition he deserved. He was another "invisible" musician for the public's eyes.
Curiously, I first became familiar with his name through Milton Nascimento's "Courage" album, recorded for A&M/CTI in 1968. And the second LP I got with Chauncey's name on the credits was Quincy Jones' "Sounds... and Stuff Like That!!" from 1978.
Coincidentally, I have included tracks from both albums in two best-selling CD compilations that Arnaldo DeSouteiro have produced for the Verve Music Group: "A Trip To Brazil: Bossa & Beyond" (1999) and "Summer in the City: The Soul Jazz Grooves of Quincy Jones". Of course, Chauncey's is credited on both releases.
I never had the honor to meet him in person, but I watched Chauncey's performing on a LaserDisc by Linda Ronstadt: "What's New - In Concert with Nelson Riddle and His Orchestra", filmed live in Santa Barbara for a TV special broadcasted on HBO and later released on LD (but not yet available on DVD...what are you waiting, folks? It's an unique chance to see and listen to Cahuncey's velvety trombone playing some lovely (although short) solos.
During his career, he also appeared on albums by Tony Bennett, Coleman Hawkins, Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Lena Horne, Joe Newman, Morgana King, Les Brown, Caterina Valente, Dinah Washington, Perry Como, Ruth Brown, Peggy Lee, Steve Lawrence, Carmen McRae, Dean Martin, Tito Puente, Dr. John, Rosemary Clooney, John Pizzarelli, Diane Schuur, Michael Franks, and the Manhattan Transfer group, among countless others.
Chauncey Welsch was also part of Urbie Green's "21 Trombones" project and took part in pop sessions with Barry Manilow, r&b dates with Ashford & Simpson etc.
This week I got a new Japanese CD reissue (in Mini LP gatefold format, on HM-CD) of Wes Montgomery's "Movin' Wes" album. It's part of the "Wes Montgomery by Special Requests" series that Verve will be releasing in Japan on June 18. "Movin' Wes" was the guitarists' debut on the Verve label, produced in 1964 by Creed Taylor with Bobby Scott on piano and arrangements by Johnny Pate. One of the tracks is Durval Ferreira/Lula Freire's "Moça Flor". Guess who is in the trombone section, alongside Urbie Green, Jimmy Cleveland and Quentin Jackson? Yes, Chauncey Welsch! Rest in Peace.

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