Sharing Melba Liston’s story at the library

Jul 30, 2018

Published by Lee & Low Books, Inc.

This summer, staff members from Historic New England’s education team are visiting public library branches throughout Boston to share the remarkable story of jazz trombonist Melba Liston.

Using the book Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, children meet the young Melba, an extraordinary trombonist who faces numerous challenges in her life to perform and compose jazz. Students also look at instruments from the past, listen to Melba’s music, and create a musical instrument to take home.

More about Melba Liston

Liston was the first woman trombonist to play in big bands from the 1940s through the 1960s. In addition to working as a jazz trombonist, she was also a composer and arranged music for a number of artists including Billie Holiday and Marvin Gaye.

Even after Liston suffered a stroke in 1985, which left her partially paralyzed and unable to play her trombone, she used a computer to to arrange and compose music until her death in 1999.