Ralph Bigelow, director of the Bones West trombone choir in Santa Ana, California, emailed me to tell of an event that the local Southern California ‘bonists had organised in honour of George Roberts’ 70th birthday, and asked if I could send a few words of appreciation to be announced on the night.
I woke up with the birds early next morning with this on my mind and went to my study to see if I could conjure something up. I’m useless at making up words, especially sentimental ones. Anyway, while I was thinking, I was absent mindedly doodling with a couple of chords on the piano. I gave up on my word composition and started developing my chord sequence instead. Eventually, a theme started building on the changes and I realised that what was materializing had to be a bass trombone feature. It then hit me that my new tune said everything that I was unable to put into words. The laid back style describes George and his life long devotion to promoting the bass trombone as a solo instrument, and the title “Mr. Nice Guy” just about sums up how I feel about him as a musician and friend. The tune is subtitled “Song for Bass Trombone” and is dedicated to George.
“It was premiered at George’s celebratory night in Hollywood by Phil Teele with Bones West, the trombone choir that George himself had created back in 1980 and is still going strong.”
This solo can be purchased from the online store with arrangements written for big band, brass band, wind band and trombone choir.