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Alan Rubin dies at 68; Blues Brothers trumpeter

Rubin backed John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in the 'Saturday Night Live' sketches that spawned the band and went on to record with the band and appear in the 1980 film 'The Blues Brothers' and a 1998 sequel.

By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times

3:59 PM PDT, June 11, 2011

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Trumpet player Alan Rubin was recruited to join the Blues Brothers after backing up John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in the "Saturday Night Live" television skits that spawned the band in the late 1970s.

One of many gifted session musicians in the group, Rubin became known for his movie portrayal of head waiter Mr. Fabulous in 1980's "The Blues Brothers" and a 1998 sequel.

Rubin died Wednesday of lung cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, said his wife, Mary Moreno Rubin. He was 68.

He was 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," the Original Blues Brothers Band said in a statement.

When asked about his professional biography, Rubin liked to say: "Been everywhere, played with everyone."

Born Feb. 11, 1943, in New York City, Rubin took up the trumpet when he was about 10 and entered the Juilliard School at 17.

At 20, he dropped out of Juilliard to go on the road with singer Robert Goulet.

Rubin would go on to record and perform with Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Blood Sweat & Tears, Aerosmith, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Billy Joel, the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton, among many others, his wife said.

Since 1988, Rubin had performed with the Original Blues Brothers, a reconfigured version of the band, which had stopped performing after Belushi died in 1982.

In the first Blues Brothers film Rubin's Mr. Fabulous is a horn player turned maitre d' when Belushi and Aykroyd comically storm the restaurant to get him to rejoin the band.

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."

In addition to his wife, Rubin is survived by his sister, Sharyn Soleimani, of New York City, and his brother, Marshall, of Los Angeles.

valerie.nelson@latimes.com