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Overdue Ovation: Frank Lacy

The trombone's champion

Frank Lacy

You’ve got a lot of great trombone players playing right now,” says trombonist Kuumba Frank Lacy, a big man perched on a small stool in the back room of Greenwich Village’s Smalls Jazz Club. “It’s really unprecedented in the history of jazz, where you have all these great trombonists-older trombonists, middle-aged trombonists and younger trombonists. It runs the whole gamut, man.”

Lacy, 55, is something of a soft-spoken evangelist for his instrument. He feels that there’s a strong bias against the trombone among the jazz press and fans, especially in the United States. Despite the instrument “lending itself to innovation,” the list of real stars in jazz trombone history, he notes, is a very short one while trumpet and saxophones overflow with famous specialists. “It’s gotten better, with the exposure that the younger guys are getting,” says Lacy, who also sings and plays trumpet, French horn, tuba and classical euphonium. “I think the States could give more appreciation for the trombone, and I’m trying my best to make that situation happen.”

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