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T.S. Monk Remembers Eddie Bert

May 16, 1922-Sept. 27, 2012

T.S. Monk
Eddie Bert

I first met Eddie Bert when I was 8 years old. It was at a rehearsal for my father’s 1959 Town Hall concert. Today, that concert is considered an epic event in the history of jazz. I was young but fully aware of the racial tensions plaguing America, so any white face on the bandstand with dad piqued my curiosity. There wasn’t as much integration in bebop as in the other branches of jazz, but Thelonious was different in so many ways. There were four faces that stood out to me on that stage: Phil Woods on alto sax, Pepper Adams on baritone, Don Butterfield on tuba and little Eddie Bert on trombone.

My father could have called any trombone player. He knew everybody: J.J. Johnson, Curtis Fuller, everybody. He chose Eddie. Thelonious, like all the jazz giants, had no time for the racism that was so rampant throughout the country. He was hell-bent for excellence.

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