Don Lusher

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Don Lusher
Birth nameGordon Douglas Lusher
Born(1923-11-06)6 November 1923
Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, UK
Died5 July 2006(2006-07-05) (aged 82)
Cheam, Sutton, Greater London
Genres Jazz
Years active1945-2006

Don Lusher OBE (6 November 1923 [1] – 5 July 2006) was an English jazz and big band trombonist best known for his association with the Ted Heath Big Band. In a career spanning more than 60 years, he played trombone with a number of jazz orchestras and bands and was twice President of the British Trombone Society.


Early life and career

Lusher was born in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England, [1] and started playing the trombone aged six years old in his local Salvation Army band, the third generation of his family to do so. During World War II, he served as a gunner signaller in the Royal Artillery. [2]

After the war, he became a professional musician, playing with the bands of Joe Daniels (his first professional job on £12-a-week), Lou Preager, Maurice Winnick, the Squadronaires, Jack Parnell and, lastly, the Ted Heath Big Band. [1] [3]

Lusher spent nine years as lead trombone with Ted Heath's Orchestra and toured the United States with him on five occasions. [1] Ted Heath died in 1969. After several attempts to revive the band, Don took over the leadership in 1976 at the request of Ted Heath's widow, Moira. He led the 'Ted Heath Tribute Orchestra' throughout the 1980s and 1990s until its sold-out final concert at the Royal Festival Hall in December 2000. He also led the trombone section during many of Frank Sinatra's European tours. [1]

Later years

Lusher formed his own ensemble, the Don Lusher Big Band. He also performed with the Manhattan Sound Big Band, with Alexis Korner and various session musicians in the big band-rock fusion group CCS, and was a member of the Best of British Jazz group from the 1970s onwards.[ citation needed ]

He spent some years as a Professor of the Royal College of Music before becoming Professor of Trombone at the Royal Marines School of Music, Portsmouth in 1997, a post he retired from in 2004.[ citation needed ]

In 2001, he recorded an album on the Decca label featuring Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk, John Chilton and the Feetwarmers, John Dankworth, Humphrey Lyttelton, and George Melly. It was entitled British Jazz Legends Together.[ citation needed ]

In 1993 he was awarded the status of Freeman of the City of London, and in 2002 Lusher received an OBE for services to the music industry. The Don Lusher Big Band played its final concert in 2007. [4]

Personal life and death

Don Lusher was first married to Eileen Orchard, a singer with Lou Preager's danceband. He married again his second wife, Diana, after Eileen's death. Lusher died in Cheam in 2006 aged 82. He is survived by his two sons from his first marriage and a stepson from his second. [5]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 777. ISBN   1-85227-745-9.
  2. Don Lusher Biography
  3. Don Lusher Biography
  4. Don Lusher Biography
  5. Don Lusher Obituary