Milt Bernhart

Milt Bernhart, born May 25, 1926 in Valparaiso (Indiana) and died January 22, 2004, in Glendale (California). He was a West Coast jazz trombonist who collaborated with Stan Kenton, Frank Sinatra and other musicians. Nelson Riddle conducted the thrilling solo that he provided in the middle Sinatra’s 1956 recording of I’ve Got You Under My Skin. Bernhart, sometimes spelled Bernhardt, started on the tuba but switched to trombone high school. He was 16 when he joined Boyd Raeburn’s group and then had some “gigs” with Teddy Powell. He worked for Stan Kenton over the next ten year, after serving in the United States Army. Kenton is his most prominent association, but he released his first album in 1955 as a leader. He was elected president of the Big Band Academy of America in 1986. He is known for being “mild-mannered” and humorous, but his brief time with Benny Goodman was what brought out his fury. Except for basic training in Army, he claims that his time with Goodman was the “bottom” of his 23-years of life. He called Goodman “boring” and said he didn’t do anything about Wardell Gray’s treatment at a Las Vegas segregated club. Even claiming that Goodman humiliated Gray before a crowd from Wikipedia, he quit.

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