Tom "Bones" Malone plays trombone and serves as principal
arranger for the CBS Orchestra on David Letterman's Late Show these
days, but he cut his musical choppers with the Blues Brothers on
the Saturday Night Live show two decades ago.
Malone, a Sumrall
native, moved to New York City to pursue his dream of becoming a
professional musician in 1970 after attending The University of
Southern Mississippi for two years, were he played in Southern Miss's
marching band, The Pride of Mississippi. He returned to the Southern
Miss campus in 1998 to perform during halftime of a Golden Eagles
After a variety
of gigs in the Big Apple playing for such performers as Stevie Wonder
and Marvin Gaye, he joined the Saturday Night Live Band and stayed
there for a decade, serving as musical director from 1981 until
he left the show in 1985.
While at SNL,
Malone was asked to write an arrangement for a comedy routine that
two cast members, Dan Akroyd and the late John Belushi, had conceived.
Malone arranged the piece, Belushi and Akroyd developed dance steps
and found costumes, and the skit became a big hit when it aired
on the late-night TV show.
Blues Brothers became an international success, and the group produced
a triple-platinum record, toured the country and subsequently expanded
the skit into a Universal motion picture. Malone who plays
18 instruments professionally played tenor sax, trombone,
baritone sax and trumpet in the band. He arranged the music for
90 percent of the sound score and played the role of himself in
the movie. He also appeared in the sequel, "Blues Brothers
left SNL in 1985, he spent the next several years immersed in numerous
projects not surprising for a musician who has been working
professionally since the age of 14. He played on albums for Cyndi
Lauper, Jeremy Wall, Pat Metheny and others; and in 1992, he helped
Mark Shaiman arrange music for the motion picture "Sister Act."
In 1993, Malone
joined the CBS Orchestra, directed by Paul Shaffer, and plays five
nights a week for the Late Show with David Letterman. He has contributed
more than 200 arrangements to the show and serves as the band's
One of the
most in-demand studio musicians in the recording business today,
he has been heard on more than 350 records and in more than 2,000
radio and television commercials. He has recorded with big-name
artists such as James Brown, Steve Winwood, J. Geils Band, Pink
Floyd, Average White Band, Paul Simon, Miles Davis, B.B. King, Diana
Ross, David Sanborn, Van McCoy, the Spinners and SpyroGyra.
line is Get out of the business'," he said with a laugh
during a recent interview, when asked for his advice to struggling
young musicians. "But seriously, my advice to musicians
or anybody else is to follow your dreams and think big. Think
big. Whatever your goals are, set them high because you only go