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Jimmy Knepper: 1927-2003
Jimmy Knepper
Trombone, arranger

Born: November 22, 1927 in Los Angeles, California
Died: June 14, 2003 in Triadelphia, West Virginia

Gifted trombonist and arranger

Copyright © 2003 


Jimmy (James Minter) Knepper was most famously associated with the music of Charles Mingus, where his abilities as a trombonist and an arranger added additional lustre to some of jazz's greatest music.

The relationship ended when Mingus infamously punched the trombonist in the mouth during the fraught preparations for the Town Hall Concert in 1962, although he showed a remarkably forgiving streak when he rejoined Mingus for albums sessions in the 1970s, and subsequently worked with the Mingus Dynasty band after the bassist's death in 1979.

He was an established musician before joining Mingus, and worked in a range of other contexts throughout his long career, from Broadway pit bands to the groups of leaders like Charlie Barnet, Claude Thornhill, Woody Herman, Gil Evans, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, Stan Kenton, Herbie Mann, Benny Goodman and the American Jazz Orchestra. He led his own bands, and toured as a soloist.

He is survived by his wife Maxine; a daughter, Robin, and four grandchildren. A son, Timothy, died in 1991.

JJA members are invited to submit a full obituary or appreciation.

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With 3 reader comments, latest November 15, 2004