Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Eddie Bert had a long career in jazz and in the studios, managing to go almost unnoticed by all but his fellow musicians. A fine and flexible soloist, Bert also played a large part behind the scenes, performing his parts quite capably in orchestras. Among his early teachers were fellow trombonists Benny Morton and Trummy Young. In 1940, when he was 18, Bert joined Sam Donahue's Orchestra, and two years later cut his first solo on record, "Jersey Bounce," with Red Norvo's band. Bert gigged with the orchestras of Charlie Barnet (1943) and Woody Herman, performed at a well-recorded Town Hall concert with Norvo in 1944, where he was extensively featured and, after a stint in the military, he worked during the next decade with such orchestras as Herbie Fields, Stan Kenton (1947-1948 and 1950-1951), Benny Goodman (1948-1949), Woody Herman again, and Les Elgart. From 1952-1955, Bert recorded several dates as a leader for Discovery, Savoy, Jazztone, and Trans-World, showing that he could be a personable bop-based improviser in small groups, too. He worked and recorded with Charles Mingus in late 1955, rejoined Goodman in 1957, was part of the ensembles on the various Miles Davis/Gil Evans projects, and performed with Thelonious Monk at his famed big band concerts of 1959 and 1963. In addition to his extensive studio work, Bert was associated with Elliot Lawrence, Chubby Jackson, and again with Mingus; he was part of Dick Cavett's TV big band from 1968-1972 and toured Europe with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. In 1976, he led an obscure effort for the Danish Backbone label and later headed sessions for Molshajala (a duo album with bassist Steve Roane), Keybone, and Fresh Sound (1987), in addition to recording as a sideman with Lionel Hampton, Sal Salvador, and Teo Macero, among others. In 1997, Eddie Bert toured with T.S. Monk's Monk on Monk ensemble. Bert died at his home in Danbury, Connecticut, in September 2012; he was 90 years old.