Rick Simerly is a jazz trombonist and currently Associate Professor of Music at Milligan College in Tennessee. He has been described by David Baker as “… one of the most exciting and consistently creative trombonists in jazz today.” Jamey Aebersold depicts him as “…an astounding player with fantastic range and a keen sense of developing a solo. His playing takes you on musical journeys and each one is different and exciting.” The Online Trombone Journal states “Rick Simerly is in the upper ranks of contemporary trombonists”, while the Jazz Review declares “…when jazz fans think about great trombone players, only a few names come to mind, J.J. Johnson, Steve Turre, or maybe Bill Watrous. Soon jazz fans will be praising the slide horn of Rick Simerly.” The International Trombone Association Journal wrote “Rick leaves no doubt about his mastery…Rick is “scary”!”
Rick has toured with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra under the direction of David Baker and has played in the bands of Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman, Nelson Riddle, Les Elgart, Bob Crosby, Jimmy Dorsey, Buddy Morrow, and the last band of Charlie Spivak. He has performed with jazz artists Billy Taylor, James Moody, Slide Hampton, Rufus Reid, Jon Faddis, Bobby Shew, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Milt Hinton, Eric Alexander, Dave McKenna, Butch Miles, Adam Nussbaum, Plas Johnson, Jake Hanna, Tommy Newsom, Joe Wilder, Pat LaBarbera, Steve Wilson, Bobby Watson and many others. Some of the entertainers with whom he has toured and performed include Frank Sinatra Jr., Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Danny Thomas, Vic Damone, Lou Rawls, Gladys Knight, The Temptations, The Spinners, The Four Tops, The Commodores and The O’Jays. He has been a featured performer on the “JazzSouth” radio series on over 200 U.S. stations, and over 147 combined radio stations in Columbia and Australia. His solo CD, Simple/Complexity, has received rave reviews from critics and performers throughout the United States. It has been described as a “…chop busting display…” by Cadence Magazine, “a virtual dissertation of the trombone” by trombonist Buddy Morrow and the late J.J. Johnson declared “It is quite impressive. You should be proud.” His latest CD, Obscurity, is on the Double-Time Jazz label and features Eric Alexander, David Hazeltine, Lynn Seaton, Steve Davis and Scott Wendholt. The International Trombone Journal states “… there is nothing obscure about Rick Simerly’s talent and ability – he is an awesome jazz voice. He could be a “poster child” for the Downbeat Magazine classification – Talent Deserving of More Recognition. Obscurity is well paced, well produced and very well done.” Rick recorded a series of jazz etudes released as the Maiden Voyage Jazz Solos For Trombone (book and CD set) composed by Lennie Niehaus and published by Jamey Aebersold Jazz. He is a veteran faculty member of the famed Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops and has been artist in residence at numerous jazz camps nationwide. Rick has also served as a faculty member at the renowned Brubeck Institute in Stockton, CA. As a clinician, he regularly performs clinics and concerts throughout the United States and has been a featured soloist for the International Association of Jazz Educators, The International Trombone Association and the Mid-West Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. Rick is an Artist/Clinician for Michael Rath Trombones of England.