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Sim Flora jazz trombonist & clinician






Sim Flora

complete bio.pdf

Sim Flora is a jazz trombone player and professor emeritus / former Chairman of Music Theory and Jazz Studies at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. A native of Southern Illinois, Dr. Flora earned his Ph.D. in Music Education at The University of Oklahoma, his Master of Music Education at Ouachita Baptist University and a Bachelor of Music from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois.

His unique and varied career has included public school teaching in Southern Illinois, free-lance trombone work on the West Coast and in the St. Louis area and a seven-year tenure as Musical Director at Six Flags Over St. Louis. During this time, he played in bands backing artists such as Sammy Davis Jr., Mel Torme, Clark Terry, Jack Jones, Nancy Wilson, and other stars of the day.

He has served on the faculty of Clark Terryʼs All-American Jazz Camps, various university summer jazz camps and has served on staff at the prestigious Alessi Seminar. Dr. Flora has presented masterclasses and directed All State and regional honor jazz bands throughout the United States. He has appeared as guest artist with many university and community bands and trombone choirs, The United States Air Force Band and has twice been featured soloist at the Eastern Trombone Workshop with The University of Alabama. He recently served as guest soloist at the International Trombone Festival with the Murray State University trombone choir, soloed with the TCU Trombone Choir for the Texas Music Educators Association, and taught three weeks as guest lecturer at Liverpool Hope University in Liverpool, England.

Dr. Flora has instrumental arrangements published by Southern Music, choral anthems published by the G. Lorenz Company and childrenʼs songs published by LifeWay Christian Resources. He and his son, Nick, operate Off The FLor Music which released Dr. Floraʼs debut CD recording entitled Sound Doctrine and in 2011, released Nick Floraʼs recording, Hello Stranger.

Sim Flora is an artist for the Michael Rath Trombone Company, plays custom built Rath trombones and in his retirement, continues to maintain a busy performance and teaching schedule.

Audio and Video

Note that Firefox currently does not support the mp4 video file type.

Don't Get Around Much Any More, at the Alessi Seminar
      from Sim's 2007 cd Sound Doctrine -
      What A Friend We Have In Jesus.mp3
      Roll Call to Heaven.mp3
Georgia on My Mind, at the Alessi Seminar
  Take The A Train


Yes, I’m obsessed! And if you are serious about being the best musician you can possibly be, you will embrace this same obsession. Music Education recognizes improvisation, deeming it to be a worthwhile artistic endeavor. They are right! But Music Ed. does not take this wonderful musical gift nearly deep enough. Improvisation is a product of the human Creative Act and the Creative Act just happens to be the World's Best Music Teacher. Intrigued? Want to know more? Talk to me about it.

Improv for Everyone.pdf     Principles of Improvisation.pdf

Jazz Trombone Technique

This topic includes nearly everything about playing jazz trombone (sound, chops, articulation, slide technique, playing what you hear, etc.) All those great ideas stacked up inside your head? Don’t they need to be born of the horn? Played in real time on a real horn? There are ways of encouraging this to happen and are the goals and objectives of this topic.

Practice with a Purpose.pdf

Integrating Aural Skills and Analysis Into Performance

This is an important skill in performing anything, but critical to being a jazz player and improviser. So much of our work has to do with the theoretical aspects of music. But if these concepts are never integrated into performance, they simply become academic topics only, and are fairly useless. Let’s put them to work for us! Let’s become better players because we understand how music works!

Jazz Improvisation Exam.pdf


Clark Terry’s 3 Steps to Learning Improvisation

Tribute to Pat Henry

April 2015

Pat Henry never sent in a sub nor missed an entrance. He never laid out those tempting two bars before the big solo as he fought liver cancer to the final double bar of his life.

On April 9th, 2015, Pat passed from this life to the next, but not before he played in church, Easter Sunday, only four days before his departure. Barely able to hold up the horn, Pat’s act of courage well represented his resolve to continue fulfilling his earthly duties during these final moments.

It was my privilege to stand next to this man in many musical situations and perform our duties—duties to first “do no harm,” and then to lead with melodies, to play exciting, interesting and musical improvised solos, to make singers sound better and finally, to KNOW what the other was about to play. This foreknowledge can allow any ensemble to support each other with appropriate harmony, counterpoint or simply a nice sounding unison or octave passage. It was also this foreknowledge that would cause us to glance at each other, horns on faces, and simply grin approvingly, after providing what we thought was just the right line, harmony or unison figure.

Word of warning: this doesn’t happen with every trumpet / trombone duo. Below, in no particular order, are some necessary precursors

  • Musical knowledge is critical
  • Understanding the “big picture” and your role in it is paramount
  • Egos must be set aside for the good of the group and the section
  • Mutual respect is a must

Pat and I often agreed (with a grin) that our “timely laying out provided just the right amount of space!”

Pat was one of the best musicians with whom I’ve ever played. His family misses him dearly and so do I. Making music with such a talent is a blessing, but doing it with a friend is a double blessing. As Bob Boyd stated, “Heaven’s trumpet section just received an upgrade .” What a privilege to have made music with Patrick Owen Henry.


The Nat Tribute

February 2015

I loved Nat King Cole because my mother loved Nat—and I love my mother! Nat’s voice and piano stylings are my earliest memory of music.

He and his trio had a burgeoning jazz career until the inevitable—he SANG that first song. All jazz players sing. All musicians sing. But very few musicians have just the right voice for just the right time. Nat King Cole DID. Whether performing originals or covering standards, Nat’s music will continue to stand the test of time. Not only was his the right voice at the right time, but his intensely high level of musicianship assured his place in American Music.

Nat, an American musical treasure, passed away fifty years ago on February 15th, 1965. Such a gift deserves a tribute, and I’ve assembled many Nat Cole musical gems for this performance. Dr. Jon Whitaker, professor of trombone at the University of Alabama, has agreed to premier the Nat Tribute concert on March 26th. We’ll be using Jon’s wonderful trombone choir and the UA Faculty Jazz Combo. This performance will be on the UA campus at Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Songs represented will include: When I Fall In Love,Orange Colored Sky,It’s Only A Paper Moon,Sweet Lorraine,Mona Lisa,Unforgettable,Route 66, The Christmas Song,Country Medley (Dear Lonely Hearts; Ramblin’ Rose; Cold, Cold, Heart),Stars Fell On Alabama,

These arrangements by Kurt Silver, Rich Coble and myself are for a large trombone choir with no vocals! Jon has agreed to allow me to teach just a bit. I promise to keep the spoken word SHORT and a fun time for all. Come and join in this tribute to one of America’s finest musicians.

Dr. Flora may be reached at         cell: (870) 210-6013    
     simflora251 at gmail dot com   home: (870) 246-5041    
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