Prepare to be wowed by all the trombone has to offer in this list of the best trombone solos. From jazz to classical to avant-garde, these recommendations will keep your ears happy and your heart content with hours full of wonderful, exciting, and expressive trombone playing.
1. Flight of the Bumblebee. Performed by Christian Lindberg
This famous challenging solo is sure to make the list with none other than the most recorded trombonist, Christian Lindberg, performing it. Listeners are sure to hear the buzzing of a bumblebee as the trombone leads the flight with speed like no other.
2. Just A Closer Walk with Thee. Performed by Gunhild Carling
This is one of the most entertaining jazz trombone solos that is guaranteed to keep you watching until the end. The drastic dynamic changes mixed with a performance of pure emotion and comical relief makes this soulful solo impossible to not move along to.
3. Cage. Solo for Sliding Trombone. Performed by John Cage
This solo will intrigue the listener who is not familiar with the style of avant-garde. Cage explores non-traditional ways of playing the trombone, the absence of sound, and vocal inflections to create this interesting composition that pushes the boundaries of music.
4. Pryor. Blue Bells of Scotland. Performed by Staff Sgt. Russell Sharp
The bright and soaring quality of this solo engages listeners like few other solos will. Performances of this piece leave most listeners in awe at the talent required of the performer to achieve passages of this speed successfully.
5. Larsson. Concertino for Trombone and Orchestra. Performed by Ivan Mučić Muchacho
This solo immediately captures the attention of the audience with exaggerated and embellished cadenzas. The string accompaniment aids the soloist in accomplishing the contrast of the emotional longing and playful harshness of the piece.
6. McCarty. Sonata for bass trombone. Performed by Darrin C. Milling
The richness of this bass trombone solo cuts through the orchestral accompaniment to create a subdued trance-like melody that calls to the listener. This solo shows off the delicate and emotional side of the bass trombone that is not always appreciated enough.
7. McKee. A Winter's Night. Performed by Natalie Mannix
This expressive and dynamic piece paints the picture of a winter's night with a deep and powerful combination of piano and trombone. Instead of beauty, this solo depicts a much colder and darker side of winter that creates a haunting ominous affect.
8. Weber. Romance. Performed by Jeremy Wilson
This emotional solo invites the listener to melt into the gorgeous sounds of the trombone, which capture the passion and vulnerability of love. This piece works beautifully to mirror the indescribable concept of romance that so many can relate to.
9. Sweet Louisiana. Performed by Wycliffe Gordon
The trombone comes alive and speaks to the audience in this jazz trombone solo. The timbre of the muted trombone compliments the arrangement and brings the listeners on a journey to the not so sweet side of Louisiana, despite the name.
10. Barat. Andante et Allegro. Performed by Jeremy Wilson
The build up of tension and release in the andante leaves listeners with a sense of sorrowful longing that pleads to the audience. The allegro interrupts this and provides triumphant exclamations and gives listeners the powerful ending we all love.
11. David. Concertino for Trombone and Orchestra. Performed by Michael Buchanan
Despite the amazing accompaniment for this piece, the trombone shines brilliantly through the ensemble with powerful entrances, singing melodies, and amazing control that brings out the emotion of this solo and guides your ear on an epic journey.
12. Sūlek. Sonata Vox Gabrieli. Performed by Jeremy Wilson
This highly regarded solo lives up to expectations with exceptional phrasing, pleasing transitions, and appreciation for the range and emotional capability of the trombone. The balance of dynamic and style changes create an eventful piece that never gets old.
13. Langford. Rhapsody for Trombone. Performed by Joseph Alessi
This delightful solo features themes of smooth amusing interjections that melt into sweet legato statements. All of this works expertly to contrast the mellow and relaxed style to the jaunty and sultry allure of the more jazz influenced portions.
14. Pryor. Fantastic Polka. Performed by Hana Beloglavec
The virtuoso reputation that followed Pryor is on full display in this solo. Extreme and sudden range changes create pops of interest within the already entertaining polka melody that demands the attention of the listener.
15. Rimsky-Korsakov. Trombone Concerto. Performed by Gabriele Marchetti
The booming themes within this piece serve as a celebratory cry that is further appreciated by the contrast of gentler sections. The energy of this piece rarely dampens and is propelled by the relentless intensity of the trombone part.
16. Reich. Concerto No. 2 for Trombone. Performed by Pedro Olite Hernando
This solo will catch your attention with the stately and embellished entrance of the trombone before it glides into rich and elegant phrases. The conversational quality of the trombone and piano will keep listeners captivated and wondering what will happen next.
17. Don't Get Around Much Anymore. Performed by Al Grey
This smooth talking solo entertains the crowd with a seemingly effortless approach to the plunger mute that will keep you wanting more. This showy performance transports the listener to the front row of a jazz club.
18. Saint-Saens. Cavatine. Performed by Jan Szymajda
This romantic inspired piece entertains the audience with long and dramatic melodies that sing out on the trombone. Listeners are flooded with sounds of passion as lyrical sections sing to the audience and intense moments cut through the room with vibrancy.
19. Serocki. Sonatina. Performed by Jeremy Wilson
This intricate and impressive solo works to show off the virtuosity of the trombone as a solo instrument. The third movement showcases exaggerated dynamics, heavy articulation, and ripping glissandos that make for an enjoyable watch.
20. Bourgeois. Concerto for Bass Trombone and Band. Performed by Adám Tóth
Let the low and rich sounds of the bass trombone consume you in this fun and light concerto that has a darker quality to it. The ornamented and quickness of the trombone will impress you just as much as the rumbling low notes in this solo.
21. Rota. Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra. Performed by Peter Steiner
This concerto captures the intensity of the trombone as it leads the riveting harmonic drama of the orchestra. Despite the force that the trombone brings to this piece, this solo still finds a way to show off the sophistication and elegance that the instrument can bring.
22. Arnold. Fantasy for Trombone, Op, 101. Performed by Jost Weining
This piece pulls the listener back and forth between a beautiful, mournful, legato melody and that of a triumphant and heroic theme. The nostalgia of the legato section and playfulness of the articulated provide a balance to the fantasy of the piece.
23. Monti. Csardas. Performed by Martin Wilson
The drama and embellishment of this solo enhances an already rich expression of sentiment. Impressive virtuosity is showcased with passages of extreme speed and is balanced with a beautifully rich tone during more intimate moments.
24. Night Never Comes. Performed by Slide Hampton
This big and roaring solo is full of energy that cannot be contained. The brassiness of the trombone rips over the ensemble with a vivacious enthusiasm that speaks through the screen and transports that passion to the listener in a way that Slide Hampton does best.
25. You've Changed. Performed by Urbie Green
This soulful solo will ease all of your worries away with a smoothness to the trombone that is irresistible. The aura of this performance creates an atmosphere of pure trombone bliss that you will not be able to stop listening to.
26. Bozza. Ballade. Performed by Jeremy Wilson
This common recital piece will enchant you with a singing melody that is supported by effortless musicality and phrasing. Listeners may be intrigued by chromatic passages that show off the player's technical abilities. Prepared to be wowed with a booming ending.
27. Bozza. New Orleans. Performed by Tomer Maschkowski
Fans of dissonance and interesting harmonies have found a solo fit for their listening needs. This solo's ability to do the unexpected will keep listeners on the edge of their seat with honking low notes, glissandos, and fun themes.
28. Mackey. "Harvest" Concerto for Trombone. Performed by Joe Alessi
This trombone concerto takes the listener on a constant journey between delicate and powerful. Alessi manipulates the audience with ominous and lyrical sections that intrigue the listener before leading them into climatic points of controlled chaos full of glissandos.
29. Rocha. Fly or Die for Bass Trombone. Performed by Lionel Fumeaux
This extremely decorated solo will impress you with speed and agility that never falters. The honking low notes add even more excitement to the piece and enhance the soulful aesthetic that makes this solo so fun to listen to.
30. Grøndahl. Trombone Concerto. Performed by Jonathan Reith
This is one of the most beautiful and melodious trombone concertos. The rejuvenating melodies of the first movement, emotional outpour during the second, and return of the energy in the third movement create a dynamic experience that is matched by few.
31. Guilmant. Morceau Symphonique. Performed by Kris Garfitt
The passionate melodies of this solo tell a story within the emotion of each note. The growing anticipation of this piece makes for a perfect game of tension and release between the trombonist and listener that keeps the drama going right up until the end.
32. Jørgensen. Romance. Performed by Jeremy Wilson
This solo magnifies the gentler elements of love and will touch the hearts of mushy romantics. The beauty of this solo is in the contrast of the tender to the more commanding sections, capturing the reality of emotions within a romance.
33. Through the Eyes of Love. Performed by Dave Steinmeyer
With notes that reach the ceiling, this video of Steinmeyer will transport you right back to 1988, when he performed this solo. The smooth lyricism and beckoning of this performance is guaranteed to wrap the listener in a blanket of love and nostalgia.
34. Jacob. Concerto For Trombone. Performed by Aleksey Lobikov
This boastful solo begins and ends with drama and energy that makes a statement. These portions are glued together by an expressive and passionate passage that pleads to the audience for validation, before giving them the excitement they desire.
35. St. James Infirmary. Performed by Trombone Shorty
This funky solo is beyond entertaining with a big and brassy trombone sound that will demand your attention. The energy of this piece is elevated with involved rhythms that match the stage presence of the impressive and talented Trombone Shorty.
36. Autumn Leaves. Performed by J.J.Johnson
Transport back to the eighties with this solo, played by the 'Charlie Parker of the trombone.' Johnson shows off the soothing and relaxing side of the jazz trombone just as much as the brassy and pointy side in this groovy solo performance.
37. Osbourne. Street Scene for the Last Mad Soprano. Performed by Abbie Conant
This singing solo will entrance the listener with a beautiful tone that plays against an avant-garde inspired accompaniment. The similarity of the trombone to the human voice amplifies the haunting effect of this piece which lingers even after the video is over.
38. Satin Doll. Performed by J. J. Johnson
With a tone as smooth as satin, Johnson gives us the ultimate feel-good solo that will make all your problems disappear. The playful and laid back nature of this arrangement creates an easy-going and hypnotic effect that sucks you in and keeps you there.
39. Hidas, F. Rhapsody. Performed by Park ChangWon
Similar to the early use of trombones, this solo will call out to you like a distant signal in the night. Allow the warm tone and legato tonguing of the bass trombone to take you away on a dream-like escape that has a sense of looming darkness.
40. Hindemith, P. Trombone Sonata. Performed by Jeremy Wilson
Being a standard among trombonists, this solo had to be included. Even though Hindemith wrote a sonata for every instrument, this composition is not lacking. This solo has so much packed into it that one listen is simply not enough.
41. Wilder, A. Sonata for Trombone. Performed by Kenneth Thompkins
This lovely sonata shifts through short motives in different octaves that eventually lead to a beautiful and mesmerizing melody. Despite the allure of the lyrical sweetness of this piece, the themes in the lower range adds a darkness that takes this solo to the next level.
42. Grey. Nothing But The Truth. Performed by Al Grey.
This piece is impossible to not move to, which makes it a fun solo that is easy to listen to over and over again. The highly anticipated entrance of the trombone has a slow build to it that prepares the listener for the return of the chorus and final trombone lick.
43. Bert Appermont. Colors for Trombone and Band. Played by Fabrice Millischer
The triumphant quality to this solo creates a cinematic effect that tells a story through the narration of the trombone. The listener is challenged to follow the subtle color changes as the music transforms from yellow, red, blue, to green.
44. Jongen. Aria and Polonaise. Performed by Drew Leslie
Fall in love with this impressionist inspired solo by the neo-classical composer Jongen. As intended with impressionism, the darker mood of the piece is what speaks the most from this performance, with the details and embellishments aiding in this theme.
45. Feelings. Performed by Randy Purcell
Solos with this much natural expression are few and far between. Perfectly balancing out the piercing high notes of the trumpet counterpart, the trombone takes control of the stage and gives the solo of a lifetime with a sweet and full tone.
46. Peace Fugue. Performed by Fred Wesley
With someone with as much funk, soul, and jazz behind the trombone as Fred Wesley, greatness is the starting point. Without missing a beat, Wesley performs a thrilling rapid solo that takes up space and stops for no one.
47. Jarreau. Black and Blues. Performed by William Bilal
With a section of trombones supporting him, this soloist plays with enough heart to be heard across the stadium. The energy Bilal uses to match the group will have you hyped up and ready to join the cheers of the crowd by the end of the video.
48. Paganini. Caprice No. 24. Performed by Peter Steiner
The intricacy and rapidness of this solo is sure to grab your attention before plummeting to the lower register. The quick switches between high and low registers make it both an impressive and humorous solo that all rests on the reliance of a thick and beautiful tone.
49. Mozart, L. Concerto for Alto Trombone. Performed by Aleksey Lobikov
Being the only alto trombone solo on the list, this piece has a brighter quality to it with attractive and flowing melodies that make this a pleasant and enjoyable listen. This brightness helps transport the listener back to the early classical era of its creation.
50. Gordon. Me/We. Performed by Wycliffe Gordon
This solo proves yet again that Wycliffe Gordon is one of the greatest entertainers to live. His comical mute introduction is sure to make you smile when the trombone laughs at you before transitioning into a strong brassy section that pays tribute to Muhammad Ali.
Thank you for reading. See you at the next rehearsal! 🎺