Jim Pugh

Jim is a distinguished trombonist, composer, and educator. The inspiring virtuosity and wonderful versatility he has demonstrated during the course of his career has caused Jim to be often honored as the “musician's musician”. Whether he is performing as a concerto soloist in a symphonic setting, recording and touring with legendary artists in the fields of classical, jazz, and rock, or bringing forth his own exciting new compositions that expand the role of brass in contemporary music, his creativity knows no boundaries.

Jim began studying piano at age five and trombone at age ten. After university studies, he toured extensively as lead and solo trombone with the Woody Herman Band and with Chick Corea before deciding to settle down and make New York City his home. Jim became New York's top-call freelance trombonist for film scores, records, and music for television and radio advertising: over the past thirty-years he has lent his special talent to more than four thousand recording sessions. His trombone can be heard in recorded collaboration with leading classical and popular artists and orchestras such as Yo-Yo Ma, Steely Dan, Eos, Concordia, St. Luke’s Orchestra, André Previn, Paul Simon, Barbara Streisand, Tony Bennett, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Pink Floyd, and Frank Sinatra. Jim has been called on to add his solo trombone to feature film soundtracks including A League of Their Own, When Harry Met Sally, Meet Joe Black, and on hit Broadway cast recordings City of Angels, Fosse and Victor/Victoria.  Since 2000 he has been the solo trombonist with the seminal jazz/rock group Steely Dan, both recording and touring.

In 2003 Jim "re-premiered" the Nathaniel Shilkret Trombone Concerto to a sold-out audience at Carnegie Hall with Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops Orchestra. This mid-twentieth century masterpiece, originally written for Tommy Dorsey, will be heard in its first recording, along with Jim's own Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra and Jeff Tyzik’s Trombone Concerto, on his CD “X-Over Trombone”, released by Albany Records (TROY926)
Jim Pugh is the only recipient of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Virtuoso Award for Tenor Trombone, awarded after being voted Tenor Trombone MVP by the New York recording community for five years. Jim's original music and arrangements can be heard on National Public Radio, in film scores, on jingles, on record and since 2009, on the Tony Awards TV Broadcast. His composition, "Lunch with Schrödinger's Cat", received a Lincoln Center premiere in 1989 by Marin Alsop and the Concordia Chamber Orchestra and was most recently performed at the Krannert Center in 2012 by Sinfonia da Camera. Jim premiered his Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra in May 1992 with the Williamsport Symphony. It received its New York premiere in March 2000 with soloist Joseph Alessi and Leonard Slatkin conducting the New York Philharmonic, The piano reduction version has been recorded by Peter Ellefson, Professor of Trombone at Indiana University.

A founding member of the Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble, several of Jim’s compositions can be heard on the group’s CDs “The Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble Plays The Music of James Pugh and Daniel Schnyder” and “Scenes of Spirits”, both available on the Signum label. Jim was appointed to the University of Illinois as Distinguished Professor of Jazz Trombone in 2005. He has also taught at SUNY-Purchase College, the University of the Arts (Philadelphia) and at New York University. He appears frequently at schools throughout the country as a guest artist/clinician. During the summer months, Jim runs the Complete Trombonist Workshop -- a week of clinics and masterclasses exploring the entire scope of the trombone and its music.

Jim has been involved in developments of the Shires small bore tenor trombone and is currently working with BAC instruments in Kansas City, MO. He has worked closely with Dave Monette in the development of the Monette TS11 and TS6 tenor trombone mouthpieces and is an artist/consultant for Facet Mutes. He endorses these products and uses BAC trombones, Monette mouthpieces and Facet Mutes exclusively.