Trigger_Alpert_in_action_December_24_1941— PREFACE —

Since I wrote my darkest article two weeks ago – you remember the one about haunted, lonely houses & cottages for sale (it’s updated now) -, the following may be the happiest of ’em all.

— BULK —

Bassist Herman “Trigger” Alpert was a lucky guy:

He played with the most popular orchestra of the swing era, later with the fabulous Army Air Force Band under the same leader, Major Glenn Miller. Because of his reliability, his musical solidity and professionalism, he was one of the busiest bass men in the studios after the war.

His jumpin’ style was pretty much influenced by Duke Ellington’s Jimmy Blanton, as you can perfectly hear at Swing Low, Sweet Chariot with the Glenn Miller Orchestra from June 18, 1941.

This is one of my all-time favorites with Glenn Miller, the groovy chart was arranged by Bill Finegan. — Listen to the famous introduction, how Trigger bounced ’round the beat, making fun with Maurice Purtill on drums!

Priceless, isn’t it? — And it’s showing why they entitled his only album as a leader “Trigger Happy!” —  Tex Beneke is playing a short tenor solo, Billy May is growling along, and Chummy McGregor can be heard with an unusually lengthy, though kinda fill-in chorus.

Now, why the nickname “Trigger”? — Because Mr. Alpert had always a camera at hand. He eventually started a professional career as a photographer (1970) when pluckin’ the bass was taking its toll on Trigger’s shoulders.


Trigger got drafted right after the following broadcast of Trigger’s only (and very humorous) vocal with Glenn Miller. He gets introduced by the Modernaires, and has also one of his rare solos with the band:

Nobody Ever Wants Me (December 24, 1941).

Alas, it was war, and the army wanted the man, but as a musician, not as a gunner. And so it was logical that he joined the Army Air Force Band under the direction of Captain (later Major) Glenn Miller.

Here’s one of the last recordings with Major Miller conducting the orchestra; this one – “Passage Interdit” – was uploaded by my Austrian friend KaRidder234:


After the AAFB disbanded in late 1945, Trigger Alpert was a much sought after studio musician who recorded with numerous bands & vocalists, among them was “The Voice”, a.k.a. “Ol’ Blue Eyes”, Mr. Francis Albert Sinatra.

One of Frank’s scarce pure jazz vocals backed by a small band comes now:



‘S Posin’, featuring Johnny Guarneri on piano, Tony Mottola on guitar, and our man on bass, Herman “Trigger” Alpert (October 24, 1947).

The versatile Trigger did a few jazz dates too:

An early date with Woody Herman & The Four Chips in 1947; here’s one (very funny vocal) track from this session: Pancho Maximillian Hernandez, featuring Woody Herman (cl, voc) Ralph Burns (p) Barry Galbraith (g) Trigger Alpert (b) & J.C. Heard (d).

One modern jazz album with guitarist Mundell Lowe (1955) – here’s NOT! (’cause it got removed)  I’ll Never Be The Same from this session –, an album with the two-words title Dixieland Jazz, sporting a superb all-star group (1957), and his only album as a leader: Trigger Happy! (1956).

Trigger Happy!

The other members of “Trigger Alpert’s Absolutely All-Star Seven” were Tony Scott (cl) (who composed the title tune of the album, an abstracted blues in a Monkish manner) Joe Wilder (tp) Urbie Green (tb) Zoot Sims (as) Al Cohn (bars) Dick Hyman (p) & Ed Shaughnessy (d) — Recorded for “Riverside” on October 29, 1956 (it’s available on CD HERE, but under Zoot Sims’ name. — The original vinyl LP from where I’ve transferred the track is quite rare).

I hope you’ll all have a joyful, a happy & a peacefully swingin’ weekend!

Yours truly,


— How ’bout another track from Trigger Happy? (the cover designer of this UK-pressing  had obviously no idea where Trigger’s nickname really came from 😉 🙂 – Also uploaded by my Japanese friend Otaku-san:

->>>—> And here comes Brew’s inevitable P.S., namely yet another, even swingier version of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, recorded in 1944, shortly before the AAFB was shipped over here, respectively England. What a dynamically swingin’ band that was, wow! — Vince Carbone is blowing the tenorsax, and Ray McKinley beats the drums.


->>>—> 2nd P.S., posted by my alter egos, Mr. “Brewnotes” Dr. Bruno J. Leicht & my own, though only virtual jazz club: 😉 🙂 <—<<<-

…not to forget this meanwhile updated article:


This entry was posted in All American Rhythm Section, Big Band Vocalist, Dedication, Etymology, Glenn Miller, Herman "Trigger" Alpert, Jazz Adaptation, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, Portrait, Swing Era, Tongue In Cheek, World War II and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Thank you, Brew. Few jazz lovers are able to bring it together like you, information, history, in-depth knowledge, anecdotes and passion. I had never heard of Herman Alpert before, and it’s highly fascinating how you manage to explain the big picture of jazz by celebrating its details. While reading your posting, a quote by Booker T. Washington came to my mind: “Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”

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