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©1989 Robert Brecko Walker
|Birth name||Milton Rajonsky|
|Born||April 14, 1924|
Great Barrington, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||November 7, 1994 (aged 70)|
Van Nuys, California
|Genres||Jazz, cool jazz|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, composer, arranger|
|Labels||RCA Victor, Atlantic|
|Associated acts||Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Art Pepper|
Rogers appeared on the Shelly Manne 10" LP The Three (1954, later reissued as part of The Three & The Two) along with Jimmy Giuffre. Much of the music he recorded with Giuffre showed his experimental side, resulting in an early form of avant-garde jazz. He also made notable recordings with Art Pepper and André Previn, among others.
Rogers had with his Orchestra including Johnny "Guitar" Watson, perform for the famed ninth Cavalcade of Jazz concert held at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles which was produced by Leon Hefflin, Sr. on June 7, 1953. Also featured that day were Roy Brown and his Orchestra, Don Tosti and His Mexican Jazzmen, Earl Bostic, Nat "King" Cole, and Louis Armstrong and his All Stars with Velma Middleton.
From 1953 through 1962, Rogers recorded a series of albums for RCA Victor (later reissued on RCA's Bluebird label), as well as a series of albums for Atlantic Records with his own group, Shorty Rogers and His Giants, including Shorty Courts the Count (1954), The Swinging Mr. Rogers (1955), and Martians Come Back (1955), the album title alluding to the tune "Martians Go Home" which Rogers had composed and performed on The Swinging Mr. Rogers earlier the same year. These albums incorporated some of his more avant-garde music. To some extent they could be classified as "cool" jazz; but they also looked back to the "hot" style of Count Basie, whom Rogers always credited as a major inspiration.
Credited with the composition of the music for UPA's Mr. Magoo cartoon Hotsy Footsy and Looney Tunes' Three Little Bops, Rogers eventually became better known for his skills as a composer and arranger than as a trumpeter.
In the film The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), starring Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Parker, Kim Novak, Arnold Stang and Darren McGavin, and directed by Otto Preminger, the film's jazz soundtrack was played by Shorty Rogers and His Giants with Shelly Manne.
Shorty Rogers and his Giants appear performing "Wig Alley" (a version of "Morpo") and the opening bars of "Manteca" in the club scene of the surreal film Dementia (aka Daughter of Horror, 1955) with Adrienne Barrett as The Gamin who is caught in a nightmarish maelstrom of deeds.
In the 1950s, when Igor Stravinsky began experimenting with dodecaphony, one of the twelve-tone techniques originally devised by Arnold Schoenberg, Stravinsky was impressed with Rogers's playing, which, as Robert Craft reports in his book Conversations with Stravinsky, influenced the composer's 1958 choral work Threni.
In the Peter Gunn television series episode The Frog (1958), Rogers played flugelhorn as Lola Albright sings How High the Moon at Mother's. Rogers conducted the orchestra and chorus for Ray Peterson's hit "The Wonder of You" (1959). He composed the score to the film Tarzan, the Ape Man (1959) starring Denny Miller, and his other film scores included Young Dillinger (1965), The Tiger Makes Out (1967), Gidget Grows Up (1969), Fools (1970), The Teacher (1974), Dr. Minx (1975), and The Specialist (1975), which stars Adam West.
After the early 1960s, Rogers ceased performing on trumpet, and left the jazz scene for many years. Among other composing and arranging activities, he arranged a series of records for the Monkees (including "Daydream Believer") in the late 1960s, and in the 1970s wrote the jazzy background score to The Partridge Family during the television show's first season. He also contributed episode scores for the fourth season of Starsky & Hutch, and scored the reunion television movie The Return of Mod Squad (1979). In 1981, he arranged and conducted the soundtrack of the film Zoot Suit.
In 1982, he returned to performing on the trumpet in jazz ensembles, playing first with Britain's National Youth Jazz Orchestra and soon with Bud Shank and others. In the early 1990s, he was part of a Lighthouse All Stars group along with Shank, Bill Perkins, Bob Cooper, Conte Candoli, Claude Williamson, Monty Budwig, and John Guerin.
- Modern Sounds (Capitol, 1951 )
- Popo (1951; Xanadu)
- Shorty Rogers and His Giants (RCA Victor, 1953)
- Cool and Crazy (RCA Victor, 1953)
- Shorty Rogers Courts the Count (RCA Victor, 1954)
- Bud Shank – Shorty Rogers – Bill Perkins (Pacific Jazz, 1955)
- Collaboration (RCA Victor, 1955)
- The Swinging Mr. Rogers (Atlantic, 1955)
- Martians Stay Home (Atlantic, 1955 )
- Martians Come Back! (Atlantic, 1955 )
- Way Up There (Atlantic, 1955 )
- Clickin' with Clax (Atlantic, 1956 )
- Wherever the Five Winds Blow (RCA Victor, 1956)
- Shorty Rogers Plays Richard Rodgers (RCA Victor, 1957)
- Portrait of Shorty (RCA Victor, 1957)
- St. Louis Blues (RCA Victor, 1958) with Eartha Kitt
- Gigi in Jazz (RCA Victor, 1958)
- Afro-Cuban Influence (RCA Victor, 1958)
- Chances Are It Swings (RCA Victor, 1958)
- The Wizard of Oz and Other Harold Arlen Songs (RCA Victor, 1959)
- Shorty Rogers Meets Tarzan (MGM, 1960)
- The Swingin' Nutcracker (RCA Victor, 1960)
- An Invisible Orchard (RCA, 1961 )
- The Fourth Dimension in Sound (Warner Bros., 1961)
- Bossa Nova (Reprise, 1962)
- Jazz Waltz (Reprise, 1963)
- Mavis Meets Shorty (Reprise, 1963)
- Gospel Mission (Capitol, 1963)
- Re-Entry (Atlas, 1983)
- Yesterday, Today and Forever (Contemporary, 1983)
- Back Again (Choice, 1984)
- California Concert (Contemporary, 1985)
- America the Beautiful (Candid, 1991)
- Eight Brothers (Candid, 1992)
With Elmer Bernstein
With Teddy Charles
With Jimmy Giuffre
With Stan Kenton
- Innovations in Modern Music (Capitol, 1950)
- Stan Kenton Presents (Capitol, 1950)
- Popular Favorites by Stan Kenton (Capitol, 1953)
- The Kenton Era (Capitol, 1940–54, )
- The Innovations Orchestra (Capitol, 1950–51 )
With Perez Prado
- Voodoo Suite (RCA Victor, 1955)
With Pete Rugolo
- Introducing Pete Rugolo (Columbia, 1954)
- Adventures in Rhythm (Columbia, 1954)
- Rugolomania (Columbia, 1955)
- New Sounds by Pete Rugolo (Harmony, 1954–55, )
With Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass
- Christmas Album (A&M, 1968)
With Ernie Andrews
- Soul Proprietor (Dot, 1968)
With Chet Baker
- Chet Baker & Strings (Columbia, 1954)
With Elmer Bernstein
- Baby the Rain Must Fall (Mainstream, 1965)
With Peter Brady
- An Exciting New Voice On the Move (Capitol, 1965)
With Les Brown and His Band of Renown
- The Young Beat (Capitol, 1963)
With Bobby Bryant
- The Jazz Excursion Into "Hair" (Pacific Jazz, 1969)
With Dennis Budimir
- The Creeper (Mainstream, 1965)
With Bobby Darin
- You're the Reason I'm Living (Capitol, 1963)
- Bobby Darin Sings The Shadow of Your Smile (Atlantic, 1966)
With Frances Faye
- You Gotta Go! Go! Go! (Regina, 1964)
With Bobbie Gentry and side to side with producer Kelly Gordon
With Terry Gibbs
- Reza (Dot, 1966)
with Jerry Goldsmith
- Stagecoach (Mainstream, 1966)
With Lena Horne
- Lena Like Latin (CRC Charter, 1963)
With Helen Humes
- Midsummer Night's Songs (RCA, 1974) with Red Norvo and His Orchestra
With Dean Jones
- Introducing Dean Jones (Valiant, 1963)
with Frankie Laine
- You Gave Me a Mountain (ABC, 1969)
With Peggy Lee
With Harvey Mandel
- Righteous (Philips, 1969)
- Baby Batter (Janus, 1971)
With Shelly Manne
- The West Coast Sound (Contemporary, 1955)
- My Son the Jazz Drummer! (Contemporary, 1962) - also trumpet and flugelhorn
With Carmen McRae
With The Monkees
- "Daydream Believer"/"Goin' Down" (RCA Victor, 1967)
- "D. W. Washburn"/"It's Nice to Be with You" (Colgems, 1968)
- The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees (Colgems, 1968)
- The Monkees Present (Colgems, 1969)
With Michael Nesmith
- The Wichita Train Whistle Sings (Dot, 1968)
With Jack Nitzsche
- Heart Beat (Soundtrack) (Capitol, 1980)
With Buddy Rich
- Big Swing Face, Pacific Jazz, 1967); "The Beat Goes On" and "Wack, Wack"
- Buddy & Soul (World Pacific, 1969)
With Bud Shank
- A Spoonful of Jazz (World Pacific, 1967)
With Mel Tormé
- Comin' Home Baby! (Atlantic, 1962)
- "Shorty Rogers, 70, Jazz Trumpeter". The New York Times. 9 November 1994.
- “More Big Names in Cavalcade” Article Los Angeles Sentinel May 21, 1953.
- Yanow, Scott. "Shorty Rogers: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
- Reviews: Jazz-Fusion - Recommended. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 12 January 1985. pp. 101–. ISSN 0006-2510.