Carl Charles Fontana, a jazz trombonist who played with Frank Sinatra and Duke Ellington, died on Oct. 9 from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 75.
Born in Monroe, La., Fontana first picked up the trombone when he was six years old. He played in a dance band lead by his father, Collie Fontana, then worked to obtain a master’s degree at Louisiana State University.
Two years before graduation, however, jazz master Woody Herman invited Fontana to join the group, Third Herd. Fontana postponed college, joined the band and toured all over the country, performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City and on the “Ed Sullivan Show.”
In 1957, “The Captain” moved to Las Vegas and delved into its music scene. He lent his horn skills to numerous collaborations, including performances with Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Paul Anka and Frank Sinatra. He also gave workshops at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Sound Clips of Fontana’s Trombone Work