First, let me tell you about that photo above--that's Frank Rehak on trombone playing with John Coltrane and Miles Davis.
And now, let me welcome you to this site. My name is Doug Robinson and I'm a composer and multi-instrumentalist who met Frank Rehak when I was only 15. More about that meeting in a moment.
Frank Rehak was an amazing and inspiring musician, mentor and friend, not just to me but to countless people from around the world. The fact that you might not be familiar with him or his musical legacy is understandable--he was a rising star of the jazz trombone in the '50s and '60s but his career was sabotaged by his heroin addiction. Even that didn't keep him from appearing on more than 4,000 recordings, including some of the most important jazz projects of the day. From the Miles Davis/Gil Evans classic "Sketches of Spain" to Dizzy Gillespie's amazing State Department Band recordings to Michel LeGrand's all-star project "Legrand Jazz" and dozens of other influential recordings, Frank was in the middle of it all. Leonard Feather, in the 1960s edition of The Encyclopedia of Jazz, called Frank "highly respected as one of the most individual of modern trombonists."
I met Frank in 1969 when I was volunteering at Synanon, where Frank went to finally clean up his act and where he decided to stay and work with other addicts until his death in 1987. I watched him evolve from an obviously talented but sad mess, worn ragged by addictions and all of the accompanying problems, into a generous and joyous teacher, husband, mentor and friend. It is no exaggeration to describe Frank as an inspiration to thousands of other addicts who came to Synanon, desperate for one last chance. Over the years, Frank's story and personal demonstration proved that it was indeed possible to come back swinging hard.
This website is a 'work in progress' in the truest sense. I've managed to find some truly obscure audio tracks featuring Frank, but with him appearing on so many recordings (many out of print for decades now) I'll be adding audio tracks as I discover them. Check back every once in a while if you love trombone, or Frank, or both!
In the meantime, come on in now and read a bit about Frank Rehak, one of the great jazz trombonists of all time. It's a great story. With the loving cooperation from his widow, Sandy, I've managed to digitize his solos from hundreds of recordings and some complete tracks as well. There is a ton of material that's never been heard before, including audio love letters from friends like Bill Watrous, Milt Hinton and Leonard Feather; interviews with friends and family and Frank himself; and maybe most intriguingly some of the music he created once he cleaned up, which as his unofficial archivist I can say is some of the strongest playing of his life.