This Friday, October 19, Grammy-nominated trombonist, arranger, bandleader Doug Beavers—who's performed with Eddie Palmieri, Rubén Blades, Paul Simon, and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, to name a few—brings his Titanes del Trombón to the David Rubenstein Atrium as part of the free and extremely popular ¡VAYA! 63 dance party series. To get us in the mood for an evening of Latin jazz and salsa, featuring an opening set by DJ Antonio La Conga, Beavers put together this short list of trombone greatness.

"Trombón Criollo" by Cachao y su Combo
Generoso Jiménez, trombone solo

Generoso "El Tojo" Jiménez is the father of Latin trombone playing. Here is an essential example, featured on this 1957 track from the inventor of mambo, Israel "Cachao" Lopez. "El Tojo's" conception and awareness of the clave (rhythmic pattern and structure) are historic.

"Sugar Frost" (Azucaré) by Johnny Pacheco
Barry Rogers, trombone solo

Barron W. "Barry" Rogers is the pioneer of modern Latin improvisation on any instrument, period. Barry has influenced generations of trombone players after him, including the ones that follow on this playlist. He's my chief influence.

BONUS: See below for my transcription of Barry Rogers's solo, or download the PDF.

"Picadillo" by Cal Tjader and Eddie Palmieri
Barry Rogers, trombone solo

Barry developed his style working with the one and only Eddie Palmieri and his seminal band "La Perfecta," whose namesake album was released in 1961. This track is from the group's 1966 album El Sonido Nuevo.

"El Jíbaro y la Naturaleza" by Bobby Valentín
Barry Rogers, trombone solo

Again we have Mr. Rogers, who also became a noted studio recording trombonist, collaborating with jazz, soul, and pop luminaries such as James Taylor, Aretha Franklin, Bob James, George Benson, and Don Grolnick. For this track on the 1976 album Afuera, Barry overdubbed three separate trombone solos. The story goes that Bobby Valentín loved them all so much, he left all three solos on the record... at the same time!

"Un Dia Seré Feliz" by Ray Barretto
Papo Vázquez, trombone solo

Angel "Papo" Vázquez continues to innovate with his passionate, aggressive, yet finely tuned sound. Here's Papo on one of my favorite albums from the '80s, Ray Barretto's Rican/Struction (1980).

"Albanciosa" by Manny Oquendo y su Conjunto Libre
Jimmy Bosch (solo), Papo Vázquez, Dan Reagan and Lenny Polara, trombones

Manny Oquendo had a veritable "school of trombonists" with his great Conjunto Libre ensemble in the '80s and '90s. These guys really bring it on this 1981 track, also featuring current NYC great Frankie Vázquez on the lead vocal and George Delgado on congas.

"Palmas" by Eddie Palmieri
Conrad Herwig, trombone solo

Conrad Herwig is the innovator of the trombone for the future, and the former instructor of yours truly at the Manhattan School of Music. His unmatched technical prowess on the instrument is laid bare here in Eddie Palmieri's fantastic 1994 release, Palmas.

"The Emperor" by Steve Turre
J.J. Johnson, trombone solo

Here the principal innovator of jazz trombone playing, J.J. Johnson, meets the Latin idiom and is featured in splendid fashion on the title track to Steve Turre's 1996 Verve release The Emperor.

"Trommontuno" by Juan Pablo Torres
Juan Pablo Torres, trombone solo

Another one of the giants is the Cuban great Juan Pablo Torres, whom few could touch on the instrument. I love this album of his from 2002, which features him recording an entire trombone choir and taking solos on top of the whole structure.

"Ten Cuidado" (2008) by the Jose Lugo Orchestra
Jorge Diaz, trombone solo

One of my favorite places on earth to be is the modern recording studio. I love a beautiful sounding trombone, well recorded. Puerto Rican studio trombonist Jorge Diaz demonstrates this here, masterfully, for his 2008 album Guasabara.

"Pa la Ocha Tambó" by Eddie Palmieri
Jimmy Bosch, trombone solo

Jimmy Bosch, who's known for his unmatched melodic prowess on the instrument, is the most widely emulated Latin trombonist today. He's featured here on a beautifully constructed solo on Eddie Palmieri's very recent release Full Circle.

"Trombón Moderno" by Doug Beavers
Doug Beavers, Luis Bonilla, Conrad Herwig, Reynaldo Jorge, trombone solos

I had the distinct pleasure of having all of these trombone legends in the studio with me as I recorded my first full-length Latin release Titanes del Trombón in 2015. With Frankie Vázquez once again on lead vocal, the pedal is to the metal to the very end of this trombone descarga.


Doug Beavers has recorded four critically acclaimed albums as a bandleader. His most recent release, Art of the Arrangement (Artistshare, 2017), earned a nomination for the 60th Annual Grammy® Awards and a 4 Star review in the November 2017 issue of Downbeat Magazine.