12-year old Bud Brisbois picked up a trumpet and his life was never the same. Mostly self-taught, he headed to Los Angeles after a brief enrollment at the University of Minnesota. Bud bounced around the LA music scene until he joined Stan Kenton’s band as lead trumpet player. He recorded ten albums as a part of Kenton’s band. Bud spilt with Kenton in 1963, taking more lucrative work as a studio musician.
Bud played on hundreds of recording across all genres. He worked with such diverse acts as Herb Alpert, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Nat King Cole, Bobby Darin, Neil Diamond, Frank Sinatra and Duke Ellington. Bud performed — uncredited — on recordings by The 5th Dimension, Bonnie Raitt and even The Monkees. Bud’s trumpet can be heard at the forefront of the Hawaii 5-0 theme song as well as on the theme to The Jetsons.
In 1973, Bud formed the rock group Butane and took lead vocal duties in addition to his signature trumpet. The band, although unsigned, appeared on an episode of the late-night music program The Midnight Special. Unable to sign a recording contract, Butane disbanded.
After some marital trouble, Bud left the music business. He took an unlikely job as a car salesman. In the middle 1970s, he slowly began playing the trumpet again, as it helped him to cope with his lifelong mental illness. He taught some music classes at the Mesa Community College in Phoenix, Arizona and joined a few local jazz bands.
In 1978, Bud made a guest appearance with the jazz fusion group Matrix. After the show, he told the band: “I played as well as I have ever played.”
Less than a week later, Bud committed suicide. He was 41 years old.