Click here to expand and collapse the player

Shorty Rogers

Rate It! Avg: 4.5 (7 ratings)
  • Born: Great Barrington, MA
  • Died: Van Nuys, CA
  • Years Active: 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

A fine middle-register trumpeter whose style seemed to practically define "cool jazz," Shorty Rogers was actually more significant for his arranging, both in jazz and in the movie studios. After gaining early experience with Will Bradley and Red Norvo and serving in the military, Rogers rose to fame as a member of Woody Herman's First and Second Herds (1945-1946 and 1947-1949), and somehow he managed to bring some swing to the Stan Kenton Innovations Orchestra (1950-1951), clearly enjoying writing for the stratospheric flights of Maynard Ferguson. After that association ran its course, Rogers settled in Los Angeles where he led his Giants (which ranged from a quintet to a nonet and a big band) on a series of rewarding West Coast jazz-styled recordings and wrote for the studios, helping greatly to bring jazz into the movies; his scores for The Wild One and The Man With the Golden Arm are particularly memorable. After 1962, Rogers stuck almost exclusively to writing for television and films, but in 1982 he began a comeback in jazz. Rogers reorganized and headed the Lighthouse All-Stars and, although his own playing was not quite as strong as previously, he remained a welcome presence both in clubs and recordings.

eMusic Features


Shorty Rogers and the Migration of the Cool

By Kevin Whitehead, Contributor

Some good music never goes out of style: Jazz fans everywhere revere the cooking hard bop of the 1950s. So why is the other big '50s trend, cool jazz, barely on modern radar? If you want to know how fresh and airy it still sounds, hear trumpeter/composer/arranger/cool exemplar Shorty Rogers on "Popo," "Didi," "Four Mothers" and "Sam and the Lady" from his first 1951 octet session: tightly arranged, swinging jazz with breezy orchestral colors, and… more »