Early Swing Trombonists

During the 1920s trombone playing started to develop into a more sophisticated style. Just as jazz was maturing so were the performances of the trombonists. Miff Mole and Joe Nanton were pioneers in new techniques and styles for the trombone in jazz. Growing out of the Dixieland tradition, Nanton is credited with the development of mute and plunger technique on the trombone, copied from the cornet style of the day and developed into what Duke Ellington was to refer to as “Jungle Music.” This mute style combined the special effects of the Dixieland style with mutes, and expanded it into an effect that sounded like speech. Miff Mole was an opposite to Nanton, and developed a vocal singing style of soloing on the trombone that led the change from “special effects” and “growling noises” of earlier jazz solos and paved the path for trombonists such as Jack Teagarden and Tommy Dorsey.