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Shorty Rogers, 70; Jazz Trumpeter and Composer

November 09, 1994

Shorty Rogers, a trumpeter, composer and arranger who was one of the leading figures in the West Coast jazz scene of the early 1950s, died on Monday in Los Angeles. He was 70.

Born Milton M. Rajonsky in Great Barrington, Mass., Rogers performed with the Woody Herman band in the late 1940s, and in 1950-51 he composed several important works for the Stan Kenton band.

After settling on the West Coast he led his own small ensembles and big bands before becoming active in film music, supervising the scoring for "The Wild One" (1953) and "The Man With the Golden Arm" (1955).

Rogers was a pioneer in the jazz exploration of such contemporary music techniques as bitonality, modal improvisation and 12-tone composition, and one of the first trumpeters to regularly use the fluegelhorn. He worked primarily in film and television studios after the early 1960s.

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