Big Chief Russell Moore

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Native American jazz trombonist who excelled both in traditional New Orleans style combos and as featured soloist.
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A fine Dixieland trombonist (although never a major player), Big Chief Russell Moore had a lengthy and busy career. A member of the American Indian Pima tribe, Moore moved to Blue Island, IL in 1924 and studied music with his uncle, playing trumpet, piano, drums and french horn before settling on trombone. He relocated to Los Angeles in the early 1930s and worked with Lionel Hampton (1935), with Eddie Barefield and as a freelance player. Moore moved to New Orleans in 1939 where he played with Oscar Celestin, Kid Rena, A.J. Piron and Paul Barbarin. After stints with Ernie Fields, Harlan Leonard and Noble Sissle, Moore was part of the last Louis Armstrong big band (1944-47). When the orchestra broke up, he began freelancing in the Dixieland world, often playing at Jimmy Ryan's. Moore worked in a band with Ruby Braff and Pee Wee Russell (1952), and performed with Eddie Condon, Wild Bill Davison, Jimmy McPartland and Tony Parenti among many others. In 1953 he toured in Europe with Mezz Mezzrow and recorded with Sidney Bechet, Buck Clayton and Mezzrow. Moore stayed quite active and was Trummy Young's successor with the Louis Armstrong All-Stars (1964-65) before he left due to illness. The trombonist recovered, led his own Dixieland band (often playing in Canada), recorded with Cozy Cole in 1977 and toured England in 1981 with Keith Smith. Moore recorded as a leader for Vogue (two titles in 1953), Trutone (1953) and Jazz Art (1973).