A fine middle-register trumpeter whose style seemed to practically define "cool jazz," Shorty Rogers was actually more significant for his arranging, both in jazz and in the movie studios.
After gaining early experience with Will Bradley
and Red Norvo
and serving in the military, Rogers rose to fame as a member of Woody Herman's First and Second Herds (1945-1946 and 1947-1949), and somehow he managed to bring some swing to the Stan Kenton Innovations Orchestra
(1950-1951), clearly enjoying writing for the stratospheric flights of Maynard Ferguson
. After that association ran its course, Rogers settled in Los Angeles where he led his Giants
(which ranged from a quintet to a nonet and a big band) on a series of rewarding West Coast jazz-styled recordings and wrote for the studios, helping greatly to bring jazz into the movies; his scores for The Wild One and The Man With the Golden Arm are particularly memorable. After 1962, Rogers stuck almost exclusively to writing for television and films, but in 1982 he began a comeback in jazz. Rogers reorganized and headed the Lighthouse All-Stars
and, although his own playing was not quite as strong as previously, he remained a welcome presence both in clubs and recordings. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi