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Brad Gowans

Arthur Bradford "Brad" Gowans (December 3, 1903, Billerica, Massachusetts – September 8, 1954, Los Angeles) was an American jazz trombonist and reedist.

Gowans' earliest work was on the Dixieland jazz scene, playing with the Rhapsody Makers Band, Tommy DeRosa's New Orleans Jazz Band, and Perley Breed. In 1926 he played cornet with Joe Venuti, and worked later in the 1920s with Red Nichols, Jimmy Durante, Mal Hallett (1927–29), and Bert Lown. He left music for several years during the Great Depression, then returned to play with Bobby Hackett (1936), Frank Ward, Wingy Manone (1938), Hackett again, Joe Marsala, and Bud Freeman's Summa Cum Laude Band (1939–40).

Early in the 1940s he played regularly at Nick's in Greenwich Village in New York City, and worked with Ray McKinley and Art Hodes. As a clarinetist, he played in the reconstituted Original Dixieland Jazz Band's 1940s recordings. He stopped playing again briefly in the mid-1940s, then returned to play with Max Kaminsky (1945–46), Jimmy Dorsey, and Nappy Lamare (1949–50). Following this he played freelance on the West Coast. He collapsed on stage in 1954 while playing with Eddie Skrivanek and died eight months later.

Aside from his playing, he also arranged pieces for Bud Freeman and Lee Wiley, and invented the valide trombone, a hybrid slide-valve trombone which never caught on. He recorded a few times as a leader in 1926, 1927, and 1934, and did a full LP for Victor Records in 1946. Gowans is credited in Nat Hentoff's jazz history classic Hear Me Talkin' To Ya with one of the great all-time one-liners. Asked by a prospective band leader whether he could read music, Gowans reportedly replied, "Not well enough to hurt my playing."

Birth and Death Data: Born December 3rd, 1903 (Billerica), Died September 8th, 1954 (Los Angeles)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1938 - 1949

Roles Represented in DAHR: trombone, valve trombone, songwriter

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 42 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-023415 10-in. 5/23/1938 Heart of mine Wingy Manone Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, trombone  
Victor BS-023416 10-in. 5/23/1938 Let's break the good news Wingy Manone Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, trombone  
Victor BS-023417 10-in. 5/23/1938 Martha Wingy Manone Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, trombone  
Victor BS-023418 10-in. 5/23/1938 Manone blues Wingy Manone Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, trombone  
Victor BS-023419 10-in. 5/23/1938 The flat foot floogee Wingy Manone Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, trombone  
Victor BS-023420 10-in. 5/23/1938 Little Joe from Chicago Wingy Manone Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, trombone  
Victor BS-038291 10-in. 7/19/1939 I've found a new baby Bud Freeman ; Summa Cum Laude Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, valve trombone  
Victor BS-038292 10-in. 7/19/1939 Easy to get Bud Freeman ; Summa Cum Laude Orchestra Jazz/dance band songwriter, instrumentalist, valve trombone  
Victor BS-038293 10-in. 7/19/1939 China boy Bud Freeman ; Summa Cum Laude Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, valve trombone  
Victor BS-038294 10-in. 7/19/1939 The eel Bud Freeman ; Summa Cum Laude Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, valve trombone  
Decca 66072 10-in. 8/11/1939 There'll be some changes made Eddie Condon instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 66073 10-in. 8/11/1939 Nobody's sweetheart Eddie Condon instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 66074 10-in. 8/11/1939 Friar's point shuffle Eddie Condon instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 66075 10-in. 8/11/1939 Someday sweetheart Eddie Condon instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 66603 10-in. 9/18/1939 As long as I live Bud Freeman instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 66604 10-in. 9/18/1939 The sail fish Bud Freeman instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 66605 10-in. 9/18/1939 Sunday Bud Freeman instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 66606 10-in. 9/18/1939 Satanic blues Bud Freeman instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 67391 10-in. 3/25/1940 Oh! Baby Bud Freeman and his Summa Cum Laude Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 67392 10-in. 3/25/1940 I need some pettin' Bud Freeman and his Summa Cum Laude Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 67393 10-in. 3/25/1940 Susie Bud Freeman and his Summa Cum Laude Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 67394 10-in. 3/25/1940 Big boy Bud Freeman and his Summa Cum Laude Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 67477 10-in. 4/4/1940 Sensation Bud Freeman instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 67478 10-in. 4/4/1940 Fidgety feet Bud Freeman instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 67479 10-in. 4/4/1940 Tia Juana Bud Freeman instrumentalist, trombone  
(Results 1-25 of 42 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Gowans, Brad," accessed September 20, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/107720.

Gowans, Brad. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved September 20, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/107720.

"Gowans, Brad." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 20 September 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/107720

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