Talbert, Thomas

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Talbert, Thomas

Talbert, Thomas, jazz composer, leader, pianist; b. Minneapolis, Minn., Aug. 4, 1924. With no formal music instruction, Talbert worked for a year as chief arranger for an army dance band. He was discharged at Fort Ord, Calif., in summer of 1945, and then worked with several bands. After meeting Johnny Richards in Boston, he moved to L.A. in early 1946; Richards also came to L.A. and encouraged Talbert to start a band. With his brother Jack Cáscales as manager, Talbert formed a band that included Babe Russin; they began recording that spring. The band rehearsed and occasionally performed through 1950. In mid-1949, Art Pepper, Wes Hensel, and Jack Montrose joined the band, and when Talbert broke his arm in a fall from a horse, Claude Williamson took over on piano (Williamson had seen the band’s rehearsals during his tenure with Charlie Barnet). This group recorded audition “demo” discs in August and November 1949. In early 1950 Talbert disbanded his orchestra and moved to N.Y. to write for Stan Kenton’s Innovations Orch. (Pepper was also a member), Talbert continued to work as an arranger through the 1950s and 1960s, doing work for such artists as Claude Thornhill, Boyd Raeburn, Buddy Rich, Oscar Pettiford, and Charlie Ventura. In 1975, Talbert returned to Los Angeles and began a long career scoring television programs. He returned to the big band jazz world in the 1990s; he also formed a foundation to give money to young jazz musicians.


Dodo Marmarosa and Lucky Thompson: Flight of the Vout Bug (1946). Art Pepper: Over the Rainbow (1949), Bix Fats Duke (1956); Louisiana Suite (1977); Things As They Are (1987); Warm Cafe (1991); Duke’s Domain (1993); Tom Talbert Jazz Orchestra 1946 (1995).

—Lewis Porter

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Talbert, Thomas

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