- Willie Dennis
Infobox musical artist
Name = Willie Dennis
Background = group_or_band
Years_active = 1950–1965
Notable_instruments = Willie Dennis, born William DeBerardinis (
January 10, 1926– July 8, 1965), was an American jazz trombonist.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Dennis was known as a big bandmusician, but was also an influential bebopsoloist. After working with Elliot Lawrence, Claude Thornhill, and Sam Donahue, Dennis also performed with Charles Mingus, appearing on two of Mingus's more successful albums in 1959, " Blues & Roots" and " Mingus Ah Um". In 1953, Dennis recorded "Four Trombones" (released in 1957) for Mingus's Debut Records. The other three trombones were J. J. Johnson, Kai Winding, and Bennie Green; Mingus played bass. The fullest recorded example of Dennis's solo work, however, is on a little-known 1956 Savoy disc by English pianist Ronnie Ball(like Dennis, a student of Tristano), "All About Ronnie", in the company of Ted Brown, Wendell Marshall and Kenny Clarke.
In the late 1950s Dennis returned to his big band roots, joining
Buddy Richin 1959 after stints with Benny Goodman(with whom he travelled to the Soviet Unionin 1962) and Woody Herman. In the 1960s, Dennis also performed often with Gerry Mulligan. He was married to singer Morgana King.
Dennis was renown for his extremely fast articulation on the trombone, obtained by means of varying the natural harmonics of the instrument (a tecnique known as "against the grain"). He died in a car crash in New York, 1965.
* [http://www.trombone.org/articles/library/evojazz3-3.asp Evolution of the Jazz Trombone, Part Three: Bebop] , by David M. Wilken
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.