Don Lusher OBE (6.11.1923 – 5.7.2006) was an English jazz and big band trombonist best known for his association with the Ted Heath Big Band. In a career spanning more than 60 years, he played trombone with a number of jazz orchestras and bands and was twice President of the British Trombone Society
He was born in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and started playing the trombone aged six years old in his local Salvation Army band, the third generation of his family to do so. When World War II broke out he served as a gunner signaller in the Royal Artillery, after being demobbed he became a professional musician playing with the bands of Joe Daniels, Lou Preager, Maurice Winnick, the Squadronaires, Jack Parnell and lastly, the Ted Heath Big Band.
He spent nine years as lead trombone with Ted Heath's Orchestra and toured the United States several times. Ted Heath died in the late 1960s and after several attempts to revive the band, Don took over the leadership in 1976 at the request of Ted Heath's widow, Moira. He then lead the band until December 2000, when there was a sell out final concert at the Royal Festival Hall. He also led the trombone section during many of Frank Sinatra's European tours.
He formed his own ensemble, the Don Lusher Big Band. He also performed with the Manhattan Sound Big Band, with Alexis Korner and various session musicians in the big band-rock fusion group CCS, and was a member of the Best of British Jazz group from the 1970s onwards.
He spent some years as a Professor of the Royal College of Music before becoming Professor of Trombone at the Royal Marines School of Music, Portsmouth in 1997, a post he retired from in 2004.
In 2001 he recorded an album on the Decca label featuring Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk, John Chilton and the Feetwarmers, John Dankworth, Humphrey Lyttelton, and George Melly. It was entitled British Jazz Legends Together.
In 1993 he was awarded the status of Freeman of the City of London, and in 2002, he also received an OBE for services to the music industry.
He was a regular guest soloist with brass bands and his composition Concert Variations a firm with favourite with brass band trombonists is featured on this week's show played by Nicholas Hudson.