Trombonist With Count Basie Dies At 87


Updated: Jan. 25, 12:01 pm

The bandleader and trombonist, Bill Hughes, passed away on January 14, 2018, at the age of 87. Hughes grew up in Dallas, Texas and Washington, D.C., and gained an interest in music from his father, also a trombonist.

In 1953, Hughes was asked to join The Count Basie Orchestra based on the referral of Frank Wess, a member of the group. Even though Hughes was also asked to join the Duke Ellington Orchestra around the same time, he decided to join Count Basie since he already knew other members of the group. In 1957, Hughes left the group for a brief time only to return in 1963 on tenor and later, bass trombone. He would continue playing with the Count all over the world and eventually became its bandleader from 2003-2010. After his retirement, he continued living in Staten Island, New York with his wife, a relationship that lasted for 65 years.

To learn more about Bill Hughes, click here or here.


Photo Credit: Jan Somma

Jeremy Smith

Jeremy Smith is a trombonist, brass teacher, and blogger. He studied music performance at both Grace College and Carnegie Mellon University, and currently is the bass trombonist for Orchestra Iowa and the Huntington Symphony Orchestra. In 2014, Jeremy started Last Row Music as an online resource of job postings and artist links for brass musicians around the world. When he is not performing or blogging, Jeremy is giving brass lessons to students throughout the country from his home in Centerburg, Ohio.