All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Juan Tizol

Juan Tizol Juan Tizol

Juan Tizol was born in San Juan Puerto Rico on Jan. 22, 1900, started music lessons early, was trained as a valve trombonist and as a teenager played in the San Juan Municipal Band. Tizol moved to the U.S. in 1920 and became valve trombonist in the pit band of the Howard Theatre in Washington DC, was a member of the Marie Lucas Orchestra, Bobby Lee’s Cottonpickers, and the White Brothers Band. His big break came in August of 1929 when he joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

He would remain with Duke for fifteen years, and became an integral part of the bands sound. His contribution to the Duke legacy would be in his two compositions “Caravan”, and “Perdido”. Though he did compose many other pieces for the orchestra, these are his best known. “Caravan” was always the second number in Duke’s live performances, and was permanently in the book. Duke would write specific passages for his valve trombone, in that he could cover a broader range than on a slide. Not known for his soloing in a band with an all star lineup of soloist, he nevertheless was adept and reliable. Due to his punctuality at rehearsals, he was designated by Duke to take these over on many occasions, and Duke always mentioned him with high respect.

Juan Tizol left the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1944, and moved to California. There he soon joined up with the Harry James Orchestra, then based out of Los Angeles, and remained with him for seven years. He was convinced to rejoin Duke’s outfit in 1951, he stayed for two years and then decided to retire from the rigors of touring. He stayed in Los Angeles, and dedicated himself to studio work, and played with Nelson Riddle and Frank Sinatra in very lucrative gigs. He teamed up with Duke again in the mid ‘60’s for select sessions, but soon after retired and settled in California.

Read more




Art Tatum Art Tatum
Charlie Barnet Charlie Barnet
Ray Noble Ray Noble
Barney Bigard Barney Bigard
Mark O'Connor Mark O'Connor
Quinn Lemley Quinn Lemley
voice / vocals
Julian Yeo Julian Yeo
voice / vocals

Shop Amazon

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.