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Tom Garling

Instrument: Saxophone

“I carry my AMT to every rest stop the bus hits… you dig!” – Tom Garling

Tom Garling    Trombonist, Composer, Arranger

Tom was born to Arthur and Lynn Garling on August 1st of 1965 in Danville, Illinois. After moving around a bit, his family settled in Barrington, Illinois when he was three.  His interest and talent in music became evident at an early age. His mother started taking piano lessons when he was four, and he would watch her practice. After a while, he would sit down and play the music by ear.  Throughout his childhood, he had a never-ending fascination in music, and was constantly making noise around the house.  He played piano, played guitar,   fooled around with recorders and violins that his older brothers would bring home from school, played along with records, even banged out rhythms on the table, much to the annoyance of his family.

At Barrington High School, Tom won numerous awards at jazz band competitions and played trombone in the Illinois All-State Jazz Band two years in a row. He also started playing keyboards in local rock clubs at the age of fourteen.

Tom studied arranging and composition at the Berklee College of Music from 1983 to 1985. At the age of 20, he left Berklee to tour with Buddy Rich for one year, starting January of 1986. He was on the last touring band before Buddy died. Buddy once said of him in an interview in Stockholm, Sweden: “Tom Garling is going to have a very, very strong future in jazz.” Once, while listening to Tom warm up for a gig, Buddy was overheard saying “Best trombone player I’ve heard in thirty years!”

In 1987, he enrolled at the University of Miami where he stayed for four years to receive a degree in Jazz performance and a Masters degree in Jazz Composition and Arranging.  In the meantime, he played with such greats as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennet, Dizzy Gillespie, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, and Randy Brecker, to name a few.  After graduation, he stayed one more year to teach improvisation classes, direct big bands, and coach small groups.  Shortly thereafter, he joined Maynard Fergusons Big Bop Nouveau Band, and toured with Maynard as Musical Director and Trombonist for six years.

Along with his own album, “Maynard Ferguson Presents Tom Garling”, he is featured as soloist, composer/arranger, and guitarist on numerous Maynard Ferguson albums, “These Cats can swing”, “One more Trip to Birdland”(assistant producer), “Brass Attitude” (co-producer), Maynard with Tito Puente, “Special Delivery”, and Maynard with Dianne Schuur, “Swingin’ For Schuur”. Others albums include five with with Frank Mantooth, “Suite Tooth”, ”Persevere”, “Dangerous Precedent”, “Sophisticated Lady”, and “A Miracle”. You can also find him on a Buddy Rich cd of a 1986 recording at Stadshalle Leonberg, Germay. His talents as arranger have been utilized by Maynard Ferguson, Liza Minelli, Tito Puente, and Dianne Schuur. He has also been commissioned to arrange and compose by numerous Professional, College and High School bands around the country.

Tom currently resides in the Chicago area, and is highly sought after around the world as a recording artist, composer and arranger, teacher, clinician and professional musician at any capacity.

Tom Garling plays a modified King 2B “Jiggs Whigam” model trombone and a King 7C mouthpiece.