June 8, 2011 – Alan Rubin aka Mr. Wonderful was born on February 11, 1943. Raised in New York City he took up the trumpet at 10 and studied at the Juilliard School when he was 17, but dropped out at 20 to work as a back-up for singer Robert Goulet.
Over the years he became a premier New York City session musician who was ‘sought out for his expertise in playing every style of music — from classical to jazz to blues to rock and disco — authentically and artistically.
When asked about his professional biography, Rubin liked to say: “Been everywhere, played with everyone.”
In the early years he performed with such musical legends as Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, and Duke Ellington.
In the 1970s he landed a gig playing trumpet in the Saturday Night Live Band then in 1980 he portrayed Mr. Fabulous, horn player turned maitre d’ of a fancy restaurant, who gets dragged away by Jake and Elwood, played by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, to his former life of music and crime with “The Blues Brothers”.
While making the movie in Los Angeles, Rubin bought a Mercedes-Benz 300SL sports car. As recounted in the 2005 book “Jazz Anecdotes,” he was sharing photographs of it in a recording session when the record producer said, “You own that car? But you’re only a trumpet player!” The quick-witted Rubin replied: “Yeah, but I play flugelhorn too.”
Rubin continued his jazz career, toured with the Original Blues Brothers Band from 1988 on – after they regrouped since John Belushi’s tragic 1982 death, and was to reprise his role of Mr. Fabulous for 1998’s much less successful “Blues Brothers 2000”.
He was also a member of the Saturday Night Live Band, with whom he played at the Closing Ceremony of the 1996 Olympic Games. As a member of The Blues Brothers, he portrayed Mr. Fabulous in the 1980 film, the 1998 sequel and was a member of the touring band.
Over his long career Alan played with an array of artists, such as Frank Sinatra, Frank Zappa, Duke Ellington, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Eumir Deodato, Sting, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Frankie Valli, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, B.B. King, Miles Davis, Yoko Ono, Peggy Lee, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Ray Charles and Dr. John.
He died fighting lung cancer on June 8, 2011. He was 68.