Morgan Powell, a composer and jazz trombonist, died on August 20th, he was 85. A graduate of the famous University of North Texas Music Program he taught at The Stan Kenton Clinics from 1960-1964, at North Texas University from 1961-1963, at Berklee from 1963-1964, and finally at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign from 1966-1994. He was chairman of UIUC composition/theory division from 1978 to 1983. He won numerous awards and grants for his compositions.
Early in his career he turned down a position in the Glenn Miller Orchestra because life on the road was not for him. Instead, he joined the famed One O’Clock Band at North Texas State University led by Leon Breeden. The band would not accept Black band members because of public sentiments in the area so he created the Two O’Clock band, which welcomed Black musicians. After settling in Illinois he led or was part of a number of bands, from the traditional to the avant-garde. He arranged, composed, and improvised music for his bands, which included the Tone Road Ramblers, Jazz Quintet (JQ), Boneyard Quintet, Traditional Jazz Orchestra, and One Plus One Quartet. He was the youngest original member of Dan Perrino’s Medicare 7, 8 or 9.