Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Pugh, Jim (James Edward)
He began studying piano at the age of five and trombone at the age of ten. He studied trombone with Matty Shiner of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Then at the Eastman School, he studied with Emory Remington, Donald Knaub, Chuck Mangione (director of the jazz ensemble in which Pugh played), Ray Wright and received Eastman's Performer's Certificate in 1972. He then joined the Woody Herman Band (1972-6), followed by Chick Corea through 1978. Since settling in New York, he has been in constant demand for the recording of films, records and jingles. He is a five-time recipient of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Most Valuable Player Award for trombone. Jim spent the summers of 2000 and 2003 touring with Steely Dan.
He has recorded with Paul Simon, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Madonna, Joe Williams, Billy Joel, David Sanborn, Dawn Upshaw, Pink Floyd, George Benson, and Frank Sinatra. He has soloed on recordings with Andre Previn ("What Headphones?"), Jay Leonhart ("Friends" and "Two Lane Highway"), James Taylor ("A League of Their Own"), David "Fathead" Newman ("Mr. Gentle and Mr. Cool"), Joe Roccisano, Don Sebesky ("Full Cycle" and "Moving Lines"), John Pizzarelli, Helen Merrill, Dave Matthew's Manhattan Jazz Orchestra, and with the St. Luke's Chamber Orchestra and Kathleen Battle in Andre Previn's "Honey and Rue." Jim has composed and arranged music for jingles (MCI, Chrysler, Johnson & Johnson, Western Union, Sprite, Fresca, Diet Coke), National Public Radio ("All Things Considered", "Morning Edition", "Weekend Edition", and "Performance Today" themes), and for CDs.
Among his concert works, his composition "Lunch with Schroedinger's Cat" received a Lincoln Center premiere in 1989 by Marin Alsop and the Concordia Chamber Orchestra. He performed the premier of his Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra in May 1992 with Robin Fountain and the Williamsport Symphony. This concerto was performed and broadcast by the NY Philharmonic in February 2000. He has played principal trombone with the EOS and Concordia chamber orchestras, St. Luke's Orchestra, the 92nd Street Y Orchestra, Orpheus, and Speculum Musicae. He is a member of the New York Trombone Quartet with fellow trombonists Joe Alessi, Ed Neumeister, and Dave Taylor. Jim premiered the newly rediscovered and reconstructed Nathaniel Shilkret Trombone Concerto in January 2003 at Carnegie Hall with Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops Orchestra.
He has taught at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, at New York University and appears frequently as a guest artist/clinician at schools throughout the U.S. including Eastman, U. of North Texas, IAJE Conventions, International Trombone Association Workshops. He now teaches at Purchase College Conservatory of Music, State University of NY. Jim has been involved with the development of the Edwards small bore tenor trombone and has worked closely with Dave Monette in the development of the Monette TS11 and TS 6 small shank tenor trombone mouthpiece.
He endorses both of these products and plays Edwards trombones and Monette mouthpieces exclusively.
Crystal Eyes; Pugh-Taylor Project (1984)
Woody Herman: Giant Steps, Thundering Herd, The 40th Anniversary Concert; Chick Corea: Musicmagic, Secret Agent, Return To Forever - Live; Steely Dan: Everything Must Go;
Carla Bley: Looking For America; Eijiro Nakagawa: E'nJ - Legend and Lion
He has performed on over 40 feature film soundtracks including "Primary Colors", "Fargo", Marvin's Room, "Interview With The Vampire", "Cape Fear", "A League of Their Own", "Mambo Kings", "Beauty and the Beast", "Billy Bathgate", "When Harry Met Sally", "Rocky V", "The Untouchables", "Biloxi Blues", "Brighton Beach Memoirs", "A Chorus Line", "All That Jazz",
"The Cotton Club", "The Muppets Take Manhattan", "Dressed To Kill."
He is the only trombonist to receive the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Virtuoso Award, awarded after being voted Trombone MVP by the New York recording community for five years.