From the National Jazz Archive, an interview with jazz trombonist Jimmy Knepper, who died in 2003. Since high school — after I found the album Jimmy Knepper in LA in the bin at the local Record Bar — his playing has been a favorite.
Like many jazz musicians of his generation just after the Swing Era, Knepper became fascinated with “Modern Jazz” in general and Charlie Parker’s playing in particular.
At least once, Knepper recorded Parker live himself; he’s responsible for a recording initially distributed by Charles Mingus’s Workshop label called Bird at St. Nicks. (To conserve tape, Knepper turned the tape recorder on only during Charlie Parker’s solos.)
Despite the primary influence of jazz players on instruments other than the trombone, Jimmy’s improvising style is unique and features a personal sound that is immediately identifiable. It’s virtuosic without ever being cold or showy.