Georg Brunis (george Brunies)

George Brunies (February 6, 1902 to November 19, 1974), was a jazz trombonist who rose to prominence in the 1930s and was part the Dixieland revival. He was also known as “King of Tailgate Trombone”. George Clarence Brunies was the son of a musical family. He was born in New Orleans on February 6, 1902. His father was a musician and his brothers Henry (Abbie), Merritt, Richard and Richard all went on to become professional musicians. Young George had already started playing alto horn professionally by the age of 8. He switched to trombone a few years later. He was a member of many New Orleans jazz, dance and parade bands. Although he never learned how to read music, he was able to quickly pick up tunes and create a part for his instrument. In 1919, he first visited Chicago with Ragbaby Stevens’ band. He then worked on riverboats that traveled up and down the Mississippi River. He returned to Chicago in 1921 with a group of New Orleans friends, and they played at the Friar’s Inn. This was the band that would become the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. Brunies’s trombone style was a big influence on the young Chicago musicians. Many copies of his records were made. Brunies could play any trombonist’s music as well or better in this era. Brunies would sometimes win “cutting contests” or battles of the bands by playing better trombonists and operating the slide with one foot, often ending the band wars. Brunies joined Ted Lewis’ nationally-respected band in Chicago after the Rhythm Kings disbanded in 1924. He played with them until 1934. After spending time with Louis Prima’s group, he landed a job at Nick’s Jazz Club in New York City from 1938 to 1938. He joined Muggsy Espar’s band in 1939, where he recorded some of his most renowned recordings. He returned to Nick’s the following year, and remained there until 1946. Eddie Condon was then Brunies’ manager. Brunies returned to Chicago in 1949 to start his own band. Brunies was known for his unique technical skills and quirky sense of humor. Brunies would often lie down on the ground and invite anyone who was larger than him to sit on his chest, while he played the trombone. In the 1960s, Brunis changed his name from Georg Brunis to Georg Brunis on the advice of a numerologist in the hope that it would improve his luck. From Wikipedia: Georg Brunis was killed in Chicago on November 19, 1974.

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