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date: 26 October 2020

Flemming, Herblocked

(5 Apr. 1898–3 Oct. 1976), jazz trombonist,
  • Jeremy Rich

Extract

was born Nicolallh El-Michelle in Butte, Montana. He studied music and played mellophone and euphonium at Dobbs Chauncey School in Dobbs Ferry, New York during 1910–1913 before settling on the trombone.

Flemming’s first major musical job was playing with James Reese Europe’s 15th New York National Guard Band which was co-led by Eugene Mikell. In 1917 the trombonist joined the army and became a member of Europe’s famed 369th U.S. Infantry “Hell Fighters” Band. With that pioneering African American jazz/military orchestra, Flemming went to France, performing for Allied troops and helping to introduce jazz overseas.

Back in the U.S. in 1919 Flemming made his recording debut with Europe before the bandleader’s death. He studied trombone, cello, and music theory at the Frank Damrosch Conservatory in New York while also taking musical jobs, including accompanying singer Ethel Waters in 1920 and working with Fred Tunstall in 1921.

During 1921–1923 ...

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