by Robin Slick
My father was a prodigy who left school at age seventeen to go on the road with a big band. At the pinnacle of his career, which occurred when he was twenty years old, he landed a gig as a trombonist in the Buddy Rich Band until, as I would learn years later, he got fired for being too fucked up – and how fucked up must he have been for a jazz musician to lose his job over that. After Buddy reamed his ass and booted it back to Philadelphia, my dad did a brief stint as a session musician, which meant if someone like Peggy Lee or Sammy Davis, Jr. came to town and needed a trombone player, my father got the call. And so he eked out a living that way, until, he insisted, the Beatles killed jazz.