Jack Feierman, Trumpeter and Musical Director for Legendary Acts, Dies at 91

Jack Feierman
Courtesy of Judith Feierman

He worked with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme for more than two decades as well as with Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Stan Kenton and Johnny Mathis.

Jack Feierman, a composer, conductor, arranger and trumpeter who played with Count Basie’s band and served as the musical director for Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme for more than two decades, has died. He was 91.

Feierman, who performed with most every size orchestra, from swing bands to symphonies, died Jan. 19 at his home in Sherman Oaks after a battle with cancer, his wife, Judith, told The Hollywood Reporter.

He was the first trumpet with the Count Basie Orchestra and played in bands fronted by Stan Kenton, Woody Herman and Billy May.

Feierman also served as musical conductor for such acts as Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Sergio Mendes, Jose Feliciano, The Osmonds, The Lennon Sisters and Natalie Cole.

On television, he worked with Elvis Presley, Andy Williams, Dean Martin, Phyllis Diller and the NBC Orchestra; on such series as Charlie’s Angels, Barney Miller and Starsky & Hutch; and on award shows including the Emmys, the Grammys and the Golden Globes.

A native of Omaha, Neb., Feierman studied piano at age 4 and then switched to trumpet in his early teens as he aspired to become a singer and dancer. He studied at the Eastman School of Music and had a New York cabaret act that was written by Woody Allen.

Feierman conducted symphony orchestras at Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden and in such cities as Pittsburgh, Denver, Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta and Melbourne, Australia.

For many years, he taught conducting techniques at the Dick Grove School of Music in Studio City and at UCLA. He was performing until a week before his death and died while an album by jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke played at his bedside.

In addition to his wife of more than 20 years, survivors include his daughter Jackie and stepson Brad.

A memorial will take place starting at 2 p.m. on March 12 at the Musicians Union of Hollywood.

 

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