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Famous Trumpet Players

The style and elegance that a trumpet carries, is perhaps, matched by none. This is a tribute to some of the most famous trumpet players who entertained millions and still are...
Rajib Singha
Trumpet players come from various background of music like Cuban music, mariachi, balkank folk, ska, funk, etc. However, most of the famous ones belong to the jazz family. The reason behind this, is perhaps the jazz music which makes ample use of the full range of sound that the trumpet can produce.
Apart from jazz and the others mentioned above, other genres of music which are known to make wide use of this musical instrument include classical music, rock music, blues music, pop music and rap music.

List of Some Well-Known Trumpet Players of All Time

Louis Armstrong (1901 - 1971)

When it comes to trumpet playing, it is a must that I mention about Louis Armstrong - a great man hailing from the humblest of backgrounds, and a pioneering jazz trumpeter.
Louis did not have any idea that his humble journey, which he started with a cornet from a junk dealer, would earn him the honor of being among the most foundational and influential people in the world of jazz.  Apart from being an expert in trumpet playing, Pops, as he was adorably known as, was a brilliant singer, as well.
His number "What a wonderful world" is still a hit among masses. His whole career was a showcase of awards, honors and recognition. It is said that Louis was rehearsing to hit back the stage, even on the day of his demise.

Famous Quote: "All music is folk music. I ain't never heard a horse sing a song."

Miles Davis (1926 - 1991)

Enlisted among the well-known trumpet players, another name which most of you must be familiar with, is Miles Davis - a bandleader and composer, apart from being a great trumpet player. Hailing from a middle class background from Illinois, Miles took up trumpet classes at the age of 12.
Davis is noted for his pioneering work and contributions to the West Coast genre of jazz. His "King of Blue", an album that released in 1959, was the biggest-selling album in the history of jazz music. Later, Miles went towards trying his magic with electric instruments. This experiment of his, gave birth to the style of fusion and jazz rock compositions.
Famous Quote: "I know what I've done for music, but don't call me a legend. Just call me Miles Davis."

Dizzy Gillespie (1917 - 1993)

If we talk about those musical geniuses who never attained the opportunity to receive a guidance from a teacher, but took the courage to teach themselves, it would be worth mentioning about Dizzy Gillespie. He self-taught himself to master the art of playing the trumpet and trombone.
This earned him a music scholarship. No wonder, he is admiringly attributed as the 'trumpet virtuoso'. Dizzy, as a master trumpet player, bandleader, singer and composer, was one of the prominently major figures in the development of bebop and modern jazz.
He was the one who gave a completely new and unique shape and beauty to the nature of jazz, and kept improvising his talent even until shortly before his demise.

Famous Quote: "It's taken me all my life to learn what not to play."

Lee Morgan (1938 - 1972)

Initially inclined towards learning the vibraphone, Morgan realized his true love for the trumpet. By the age of 15, when most people struggle in the learning curve, Morgan had become a professional trumpeter; earning him the attribution of being a child prodigy.
The man's style of playing the trumpet resembled that of another famous player in the same field, Clifford Brown. And not only this, Morgan was also lucky enough to spend some time learning under Brown. He also had the opportunity to work with another legendary musician Dizzy Gillespie, in whose band he played the trumpet for a year and a half.
He was 18 then. Morgan's album The Sidewinder (1963) took the music industry by storm and gave the man his greatest commercial success. This was after he returned from his brief pause of two years which he spent in Philadelphia; due to drugs issues.
Although widely popular in his commercial life, Morgan's relationship with his wife was rocky; evident by the latter shooting the former in the chest causing him to die at the spot. Morgan was 33 years old then.

Famous Quote: "There are no natural barriers. It's all music. It's either hip or it ain't."

Chet Baker (1929 - 1988)

Baker, as a child singer, and guided by his father, a professional guitarist, tried to master the trombone initially. However, being too large a size, the instrument was replaced by the trumpet, and this was what made Baker as one of the sensational trumpet players in the history of music.
After spending a brief period of musical training in school, he got enrolled in the band of the United States Army. Soon after two years, he left the army and decided to get some formal training in music in a college, only to return to the army post two years.
But eventually, he was relieved of his duty from the Army band so that he could pursue his musical career professionally. It was not long until he got a huge break from one of his acquaintances Charlie Parker, who fetched him an opportunity to play in the famous Gerry Mulligan Quartet.
Baker's performance in the Quartet was received with huge accolades, especially because of the fusion of his trumpet playing and play of Mulligan's baritone sax. What helped Baker soar with success was his solo performance in the Quartet's version of the show tune "My Funny Valentine". Baker was also a master in playing the fluegelhorn.
Famous Quote: "The drummer; he inspired me to play like no one else I have ever met."

Wynton Marsalis (1961 - present)

Among the living legends in the world of music is Wynton Marsalis, hailing from a musical family. Wynton was born and bred in the perfect environment of music; his father was a pianist and brothers are players of saxophone, trombone, and drums.
Not only was jazz that he mastered in, Wynton is known to be among the prominent and famous classical trumpet players, as well. Wynton's attempt of playing acoustic jazz was what took him to the newspaper headlines. This classical virtuoso was awarded with nine Grammys in both the genres of Classical and jazz music.
Apart from this, he was also honored with the first Pulitzer Prize for Music for a jazz recording.

Famous Quote: "I sounded like myself. People be saying I sound like Miles or Clifford Brown."

Some More Famous Trumpeters

  • Al Hirt
  • Allen Vizzutti
  • Armando Ghitalla
  • Art Farmer
  • Arturo Sandoval
  • Bix Beiderbecke
  • Blue Mitchell
  • Bobby Shew
  • Charles Schlueter
  • Clark Terry
  • Claudio Roditi
  • Clifford Brown
  • Conte Candoli
  • Cootie Williams
  • Donald Byrd
  • Fats Navarro
  • Freddie Hubbard
  • Hakan Hardenberger
  • Harry "Sweets" Edison
  • Harry James
  • Herb Alpert
  • Jon Faddis
  • Kenny Dorham
  • King Oliver
  • Malcolm McNab
  • Maurice André
  • Nat Adderley
  • Philip Smith
  • Rafael Méndez
  • Red Rodney
  • Roger Ingram
  • Roger Voisin
  • Roy Eldridge
  • Roy Hargrove
  • Sergei Nakariakov
  • Snooky Young
  • Tom Harrell
  • Valentine Snow
  • Wallace Roney
  • Wild Bill Davison
  • William Vacchiano
  • Woody Shaw
Music is the wick in the candle of life! And this article was a tribute to some of those trumpet players, who were and are the nurturers of this very wick, with which they not only brightened their lives but lives of others as well.