Jazz trombonist Mike Zwerin dead
Mike Zwerin, a trombonist who became a jazz journalist and shot to fame with Miles Davis on the seminal album Birth of the Cool, has died at age 79.
The musician died in Paris in the early hours of Friday after a long illness, his family said.
Zwerin was the Paris-based jazz critic for the International Herald Tribune for 21 years, then later for Bloomberg News, which reported his death on Friday. During those years he continued to play, touring with the French rock band Telephone.
Zwerin's entry into the world of jazz began in 1949 in New York City when Miles Davis spotted him playing in a club and asked him to join him for a session.
In a 1998 Culture Kiosque article, Zwerin wrote that going to that recording session, he "felt like a batboy who had been offered a tryout with the team."
"When I came to rehearsal, it was the band called Birth of the Cool," Zwerin recalled in a Bloomberg interview in 2005.
The legendary album — which marked the coming-out party of cool jazz, which is also known as West Coast jazz — also featured Gerry Mulligan, Max Roach, John Lewis, Lee Konitz, Junior Collins, Bill Barber and Al McKibbon
"[Davis said] I like your sound … That was the biggest compliment I ever got."
A native of New York, Zwerin recalled that as a young horn player, he played his trombone "like a kid skiing down a slalom, with more courage than sense. Falling on my face never occurred to me."
Zwerin would move into writing and became jazz columnist and European editor for the Village Voice between 1964 and 1971. He also wrote for Rolling Stone, Downbeat, Esquire, Elle and Paris Metro.
Besides Davis, he also played and recorded with other artists including Maynard Ferguson, the Mingus Big Band, Woody Shaw, John Scofield, Archie Shepp and Eric Clapton.
Zwerin wrote books on music including The Parisian Jazz Chronicles: An Improvisational Memoir, Close Enough For Jazz and Swing Under The Nazis.