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Paul Tanner Dies: "Good Vibrations' Musician Dead at 95

Paul Tanner, a former member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, has died at the age of 95.

By Crystal Henderson, EnStars on Feb 06, 2013 02:12 PM EST
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Glen Miller Orchestra

Paul Tanner, a former member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, has died at the age of 95. 

Tanner, a trombonist who played a space-age instrument on The Beach Boys hit "Good Vibrations" died of pneumonia Tuesday morning at an assisted living center in California. His stepson, Douglas Darnell confirmed the news to the Associated Press.

Tanner performed with Miller Orchestra from 1938 to 1942, as the trombonist for the jazz orchestra. During his musical career, he worked as a movie studio and ABC musician in California, and graced the stage with artists that included Tex Beneke, Henry Mancini and Arturo Toscanini.

Born in Kentucky, Tanner was a renowned musician who acquired how to play the piano before learning the trombone at only 13 years old.

He was the last surviving member of Miller ensemble, but remained known for his work with "The Beach Boys."

Tanner also helped develop the electro-theremin, a keyboard-style instrument, with Bob Whitsell. The instrument was often called the "Tannerin."

The musician also played the instruments with The Beach Boys, songs including "Wild honey" and "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times." He also recorded a solo album, "Music for Heavenly Bodies" and provided sound effects to a few TV series, including Lost in Space and My Favorite Martian.

He was the last-surviving of the Miller group, and later went on to become a jazz professor at the University of California, Los Angeles for 15 years. His music classes were very popular, and he had taught classes four days a week. According to a  Los Angeles Times report in 1979, Tanner taught 65,000 and used tapes, records, his trombone, the piano, the blackboard, films and many books, among his own, "A Study of Jazz" to teach jazz history to students.

"I didn't realize what a good job it was-teaching trombone and all the other brass instruments to people who were going to be teachers,"  Tanner said.

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