George Brunies, aka Georg Brunis, (6 February 1902 – 19 November 1974) was a jazz trombonist who came to fame in the 1930s, and was part of the Dixieland revival. He was known as the "King of the Tailgate Trombone".
George Clarence Brunies was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on February 6, 1902 into a very musical family. His father led a family band, and his brothers Henry, Merritt, Richard, and Albert ("Abbie") all became noted professional musicians. By the age of 8 young George was already playing alto horn professionally in Papa Jack Laine's band. A few years later he switched to trombone. He played with many jazz, dance, and parade bands in New Orleans. He never learned to read music, but could quickly pick up tunes and invent a part for his instrument.
He first went to Chicago in 1919 with a band led by Ragbaby Stevens, then worked on riverboats going up and down the Mississippi River. In 1921 he returned to Chicago and joined a band of his New Orleans friends playing at the Friar's Inn; this was the band that became famous as the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. Brunies's trombone style was influential to the young Chicago players, and his records were much copied. In this era Brunies was never bested; he could play anything any other trombonist could play as well or better. He would often end battles of the bands or "cutting contests" by outplaying other trombonists while operating the slide with his foot!
After the Rhythm Kings broke up in Chicago in 1924, Brunies joined the nationally famous Ted Lewis band, which he played with through 1934.
After some time with Louis Prima's band he landed a steady gig at the famous New York City jazz club Nick's through 1938. In 1939 he joined Muggsy Spanier's band, with whom he made some of his most famous recordings. The following year he returned to Nick's, where he remained through 1946. Brunies then worked with Eddie Condon.
In 1949 Brunies moved back to Chicago to lead his own band. Brunies often showed off his unusual technical abilities and bizarre sense of humor at the same time; for example he would lie on the floor and invite the largest person in the audience to sit on his chest while he played trombone.
On the advice of a numerologist, he changed his name to Georg Brunis in the 1960s in the belief that this would increase his good luck.
Georg Brunis died in Chicago on November 19, 1974.
George Brunis, fue un trombonista norteamericano de jazz tradicional, nacido en Nueva Orleans (Luisiana), el 6 de febrero de 1902, y fallecido en Chicago (Illinois), el 19 de noviembre de 1974.
Casi niño, tocó con Nick La Rocca y Papa Jack Laine y, después, ya adolescente, con Leon Roppolo, todo ello en su ciudad natal, antes de trasladarse a Chicago, en 1920. Allí, actuará con diversas bandas antes de formar parte de los New Orleans Rhythm Kings. Trabaja, en 1924, con Ted Lewis, en el circuito de baile, y permanece con él casi diez años. Instalado después en Nueva York, toca con Eddie Condon, Sharkey Bonano, Louis Prima, Bobby Hackett y otros músicos.
En 1938 se une a Muggsy Spanier, con quien permanece dos años y, tras tocar con varios grupos, vuelve con Ted Lewis. Alternará sus giras con Spanier, Condon y Art Hodes, a lo largo de los años 1940 y 50, junto a grabaciones con Sidney Bechet, entre otros. Una enfermedad grave, lo va apartando de la música en directo, hasta abandonar la escena a finales de los años 1960.