Home Contents Directory About

Juan Tizol

Trombonist, Composer

(1900 - 1984)

The colored dots show the fastest links (How?)


Big Bands Database


Tribute concert at jazzhouse.org


Juan Tizol came to the United States in 1920 from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to play in the pit band at the Howard Theater in Washington, D.C. where he met Duke Ellington. Tizol had studied both valve and slide trombone with his uncle and was a master of both. Most players preferred the slide because of its sound and greater tonal accuracy. But the valve trombone offered greater fluidity and was favored by Tizol. He joined Duke Ellington’s orchestra in 1929 and became the soul of its ensemble section over the next 15 years. He frequently rehearsed the band for Duke, who wrote arrangements that took advantage of Tizol’s mastery of his instrument, pairing him with saxes and trumpets.

Two of Tizol’s compositions, written while with Ellington, became jazz standards: “Caravan” (1937) and “Perdido” (1942). While Billy Eckstine had the first vocal hit of “Caravan” in 1946, the tune is a favorite of drummers for its rhythmic possibilities. “Perdido” has been more successful as a vehicle for vocalists. Tizol’s penchant for exotic themes seemed to inspire Ellington who performed Tizol’s other works but without the same success.

In 1944 Tizol joined the commercially successful Harry James band where he remained for seven years. He returned to Duke’s band in 1951 for the first of two short stints, the last in 1960. Tired of traveling, he settled in Los Angeles in 1953 where he found studio work with, among others, Nelson Riddle who was recording then with Sinatra.

- Sandra Burlingame

The Very Best of Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington Includes "Caravan" and "Perdido"

It's Hamilton Time

Jeff Hamilton Includes "Caravan"

Best of the Mgm Years

Billy Eckstine Includes "Caravan"

Perdido! Live (1953)

Sarah Vaughan


Ben Webster


Herbie Mann


Erroll Garner


Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers
Reading and Viewing

At Amazon.com you can often buy used for a fraction of the new price

Stanley Dance

The World of Duke Ellington

Da Capo Press

(Includes a five page section on Tizol plus pictures)

James Lincoln Collier

Duke Ellington

Oxford University Press

(Include dozens of references to Tizol plus pictures)

Duke Ellington

Music Is My Mistress (Da Capo Paperback)


(Includes a two page discussion of Tizol by Ellington)

Basilio Serrano

Juan Tizol: Latin pioneer in jazz.(musician)(Biografía): An article from: Latin Beat Magazine

Thomson Gale

Amos 'N' Andy

Check and Double Check


DVD Features Ellington Orchestra

Charlie Barnet Orchestra, Juan Tizol, Red" Mitchell, Shelley Mann, Andre Previn, Mel Torme, Bobby Troup

Stars Of Jazz (8/18/58- USA)



Copyright 2008 - JazzBiographies.com - All Rights Reserved          Permission and contact information