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Don Rader was born in Rochester, Pennsylvania in 1935 and began trumpet studies at the age of five† with his father. He went into the US Naval School of Music in 1954.

Don worked with Woody Herman from 1959-'61, Maynard Ferguson '61-'63, Count Basie
'63-'64 and Woody Herman again in 1965. He wrote arrangements for all three bands.† He then played with Louis Bellson, Harry James, recorded with Terry Gibbs an worked with Frank Fosterís quintet.

From 1967 to 1972† he played with Les Brown on three world tours. Later became a featured soloist in the Stan Kenton band, and taught in Kentonís jazz workshops. In 1972 he formed his own quintet with numerous concerts and classes throughout the country. During this period he was also much in demand as a freelance musician in Los Angeles.

Don moved over to Germany in 1983 to work with Erwin Lehnís radio band at the Suddeutscher Rundfunk in Stuttgart.  He also freelanced in Europe during this time with, among others, Peter Herbolzheimer, Dieter Reith, the drummer Klaus Weiss, and played sessions at the German radio stations NDR Hamburg, WDR Cologne and at† Zurich Radio.

He went back to Los Angeles and was employed on a freelance basis from 1985 to 1993. During this period and the 1966-'82 period he worked on a regular basis with Terry Gibbs, Louis Bellson, Benny Carter, Bill Holman, Stan Kenton, Della Reese, Supersax, Dianna Ross, Les Brown, Henry Mancini, Percy Faith, Harry James, all of the major motion picture studios and live and filmed television.

On 1994 Rader emigrated to Australia in 1994 and started to freelance there. During this period he had many motion picture calls and recording sessions there.  He also worked with visiting artists, including Natalie Cole, Jim McNeeley, the bandleaders Bob Florence and Rob MacConnell as well as many Australian artists.

At the time of writing (2004) he is currently still freelancing in Sydney and in Los Angeles and is the trumpet improvisation lecturer at the Sydney University Conservatorium of Music.

Don has been active in the field of jazz education, performing and adjudicating at many college jazz festivals. He has written a number of articles for Jazz Educators Journal.

He can be heard as soloist on Woody Hermanís Greasy Sack Blues, My Funny Valentine and Poor Butterfly on Woodyís Winners.

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