Milt Bernhart

Born May 25, 1926
Valparaiso, Indiana, U.S.

Died January 22, 2004 (aged 77)
Glendale, California, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Trombone

Milt Bernhart (May 25, 1926 – January 22, 2004) was a West Coast jazz trombonist who worked with Stan Kenton, Frank Sinatra, and others. He supplied the exciting solo heard in the middle of Sinatra’s popular 1956 recording of I’ve Got You Under My Skin, conducted by Nelson Riddle.

Bernhart (occasionally spelled Bernhardt) began on tuba, but switched to trombone in high school. At 16 he worked in Boyd Raeburn’s band and later had some “gigs” with Teddy Powell. After time in the United States Army he worked, off and on, with Stan Kenton for the next ten years. He is perhaps most associated with Kenton, but in 1955 he had his first album as a leader. In 1986 he was elected President of the Big Band Academy of America.

Although known as “mild-mannered” or humorous, his brief period with Benny Goodman was one area that brought out his ire. He indicated working with Goodman was “the bottom”, except for basic training in the Army, of his first 23 years of life. He called Goodman a “bore” and claimed he did nothing about the treatment Wardell Gray faced at a segregated club in Las Vegas. He even alleges that he quit because Goodman publicly humiliated Gray in front of an audience.

Bernhart died of congestive heart failure in Glendale, California at the age of 77.


Theme Music from “The James Dean Story” (World Pacific, 1956)
With Elmer Bernstein

The Man with the Golden Arm (Decca, 1956)
With Buddy Bregman

Swinging Kicks (Verve, 1957)
With Sammy Davis Jr

It’s All Over but the Swingin’ (Decca, 1957)
With Maynard Ferguson

Jam Session featuring Maynard Ferguson (EmArcy, 1954)
Dimensions (EmArcy, 1955)
Maynard Ferguson Octet (EmArcy, 1955)
With Stan Kenton

Stan Kenton’s Milestones (Capitol, 1943-47 [1950])
Stan Kenton Classics (Capitol, 1944-47 [1952])
Encores (Capitol, 1947)
A Presentation of Progressive Jazz (Capitol, 1947)
Innovations in Modern Music (Capitol, 1950)
Stan Kenton Presents (Capitol, 1950)
Popular Favorites by Stan Kenton (Capitol, 1953)
The Kenton Era (Capitol, 1940–54, [1955])
Kenton in Hi-Fi (Capitol, 1956)
Lush Interlude (Capitol, 1958)
Artistry in Voices and Brass (Capitol, 1963)
The Innovations Orchestra (Capitol, 1950-51 [1997])
With Junior Mance

Get Ready, Set, Jump!!! (Capitol, 1964)
Straight Ahead! (Capitol, 1964)
With Johnny Mandel

I Want to Live (United Artists, 1958)
With the Henri René Orchestra

RCA Victor Presents Eartha Kitt (RCA, 1953)
That Bad Eartha (EP) (RCA, 1954)
Down To Eartha (RCA, 1955)
That Bad Eartha (LP) (RCA, 1956)
Thursday’s Child (RCA, 1957)
With Pete Rugolo

Introducing Pete Rugolo (Columbia, 1954)
Adventures in Rhythm (Columbia, 1954)
Rugolomania (Columbia, 1955)
New Sounds by Pete Rugolo (Harmony, 1954-55, [1957])
Music for Hi-Fi Bugs (EmArcy, 1956)
Out on a Limb (EmArcy, 1956)
An Adventure in Sound: Brass in Hi-Fi (Mercury 1956 [1958])
Percussion at Work (EmArcy, 1957)
Rugolo Plays Kenton (EmArcy, 1958)
The Music from Richard Diamond (EmArcy, 1959)
Behind Brigitte Bardot (Warner Bros., 1960)
10 Trombones Like 2 Pianos (Mercury, 1960)
The Original Music of Thriller (Time, 1961)
With Lalo Schifrin

The Cincinnati Kid (soundtrack) (MGM, 1965)
More Mission: Impossible (Paramount, 1968)
Mannix (Paramount, 1968)
Bullitt (soundtrack) (Warner Bros., 1968)
Rock Requiem (Verve, 1971)

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