b. Gordon Douglas Lusher, 6 November 1923, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England, d. 5 July 2006, Cheam, Surrey, England. Lusher grew up in a musical family, his grandfather, father and mother playing and singing in Salvation Army bands. Lusher learned to play trombone and pursued his musical interests at school. At the age of 18, he went into the army but contrived to keep up his playing by joining Salvation Army bands in any town he happened to be near. A visit to a camp he was at by Geraldo And His Orchestra, in whose trombone section was Ted Heath, convinced Lusher that once the war was over that was how he would make his career. In 1947, he left the army, bought a second-hand trombone, and joined a band led by an army friend in Tenby, Wales. He then joined Joe Daniels And His Hot Shots, but only a few weeks later the band folded. Lusher’s next professional engagement was with Lou Preager at London’s leading dancehall, the Hammersmith Palais. He then worked in a band led by Maurice Winnick at Ciro’s Club, following this with important and career-moulding engagements with the Squadronaires and the Ted Heath band, with which he visited the USA.
By the 60s Lusher was one of the UK’s best-known trombonists, touring extensively with prominent artists, such as Frank Sinatra. Subsequently, Lusher led big bands for special television and radio appearances and for limited concert work, activities which continued into the early 90s. He also established a reputation as an educator, working in this capacity in the USA, Japan and Australia as well as in the UK. Despite his international fame, Lusher never lost contact with his musical origins and regularly performed and recorded with brass bands.
An outstanding technician, Lusher’s flowing, precisely articulated playing style remained an object lesson to fellow trombonists in all areas of music. Throughout the 90s, he led the Ted Heath tribute band for numerous popular reunion concerts. In 2003, Lusher was awarded the OBE for Services To The Music Industry.