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Lead Trumpet History
Written by Dan Miller

The most important aspects of playing lead trumpet are to swing hard, play with a big, fat sound and stylistically lead the trumpet section and the band. It is essential for the aspiring lead trumpeter to study the phrasing, articulation and the stylistic nuances of the masters.

Conrad Gozzo--Frank Sinatra, Woody Herman, Sam Donahue Navy Band and LA Studio
His huge sound and swinging feel set the standard for modern lead trumpet. His phrasing was pure perfection. He led a section like the true artist. His articulations, smears, falls and releases were textbook (and he wrote the book). His work with Nelson Riddle and Billy May is a must. His signature sound was an integral part of many great vocalist's recordings including Ella Fitzgerald's Songbook series on Verve Records, as well as recordings by Dean Martin, Nat Cole, Billy Eckstine, Anita O'Day, Peggy Lee and Mel Torme. Listen: Sinatra's Come Fly With Me (Capitol) or almost any Frank Sinatra recording on Capitol Records in the 1950's, Shorty Rogers' Short Stops (RCA/Bluebird) or Tutti Camarata's Tutti's Trumpets (Bainbridge) which features Gozzo on the incomparable Trumpeter's Prayer.

Snooky Young--Count Basie, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Jimmie Lunceford, NY and LA Studio
Co-authored the "book" on modern first trumpet style with Gozzo. His intense, meticulous, swinging phrasing established the New Testament Basie sound. Young brilliantly interpreted the work of Thad Jones, Frank Foster, Quincy Jones and Neal Hefti during his Basie days and left no doubt of his genius. He is also a phenomenal soloist and master of the plunger mute. Listen: Basie's Breakfast Dance and Barbecue (Roulette), Basie at Birdland (Roulette) or any Basie recording on Roulette Records in 1950's or 1960's.

Maynard Ferguson--Stan Kenton, LA Studio, Own Band
Maynard's influence cannot be quantified. His tone and power are unparalleled. He is a tremendous soloist first and foremost (check out the Dinah Washington records with Clifford Brown). But, his contributions to evolution of lead trumpet are gigantic. Maynard swings. He plays with unbridled excitement and enthusiasm, as if every note could be his last. Total freedom. Listen: Message From Newport (Roulette), Message From Birdland (Roulette) or any Maynard Ferguson Roulette Recordings 1958-1964 or Stan Kenton Capitol Recordings 1950-1953.

Note: The following list, essentially in chronological order, comprises many of the tremendous lead trumpet stylists and lists the bands and studios in which they honed their craft. They all have unique approaches to interpreting the music, and should be studied for their individual stylistic nuances (in the exact same fashion as one would study the styles of a great soloist like Dizzy Gillespie or Clifford Brown).

Doc Cheatham--Chick Webb, McKinney's Cotton Pickers, Cab Calloway and NY Studio
Wallace Jones--Duke Ellington
Ed Lewis--Count Basie
Shorty Baker--Duke Ellington
Mario Bauza--Cab Calloway and Machito
Chris Griffin--Benny Goodman and NY Studio
Ray Wetzel--Stan Kenton
Nick Buono--Harry James
Al Porcino--Count Basie, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Frank Sinatra and Stan Kenton
Doc Severinson--NY and LA Studios
Don Jacoby--NY and Chicago Studios
Uan Rasey--LA Studio
Jimmy Maxwell--Benny Goodman and NY Studio
Marky Markowitz--NY Studio
Charlie Margolis--LA Studio
Buddy Childers--Stan Kenton, Frank Sinatra and LA Studio
Bernie Glow--Herman, Gil Evans and NY Studio
Ernie Royal--Count Basie, Woody Herman, Gil Evans and NY Studio
Reunald Jones--Count Basie
Jimmy Nottingham--NY Studios
Lamar Wright--Cab Calloway, Lionel Hampton and Dizzy Gillespie
Benny Bailey--Lionel Hampton, Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland and Quincy Jones
Johnny Audino--Woody Herman, Gerald Wilson, NBC Tonight Show and LA Studio
Bill Chase--Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman and Las Vegas
Bud Brisbois--Stan Kenton and LA Studio
John Howell--Stan Kenton, Woody Herman and LA Studio
Dalton Smith--Stan Kenton and LA Studio
Ollie Mitchell--Buddy Rich and LA Studio
Lennie Johnson--Quincy Jones and Count Basie
Wallace Davenport--Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Lionel Hampton and New Orleans
Chet Ferretti--Maynard Ferguson
Rick Keifer--Maynard Ferguson and WDR Radio Orchestra
Bobby Shew--Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Louis Bellson and LA Studio
Chuck Findley--Buddy Rich, Las Vegas and LA Studio
Marvin Stamm--Stan Kenton, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis and NY Studio
Burt Collins--Woody Herman and NY Studio
Joe Shepley--NY Studio
John Frosk--NY Studio
Bob McCoy--NY Studio
Mel Davis--NY Studio
Victor Paz--Chico O'Farrill, Tito Puente, Fania All Stars and NY Studio
Fip Ricard--Count Basie, Sammy Davis, Las Vegas and LA Studio
Paul Cohen--Count Basie, Clark Terry, Machito
Don Thomas--Dallas Studios
Charlie Turner--Sinatra and Las Vegas
Dave Stahl--Woody Herman, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra and NY Studio
Jon Faddis--Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Charles Mingus and NY Studio
Derek Watkins--Maynard Ferguson and London Studio
Bobby Bryant--Oliver Nelson, Gerald Wilson and LA Studio
Malcolm McNab--LA Studio
Jack Laubach--LA Studios
Don Smith--Les Brown and LA Studio
Jack Feierman--LA Studios
Walt Johnson--Louis Bellson, Frank Sinatra, Las Vegas and LA Studio
Charlie Davis--Buddy Rich and LA Studio
Warren Luening--LA Studios
Lynn Nicholson--Maynard Ferguson, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Toshiko Akiyoshi and Las Vegas
Lew Soloff--Blood Sweat and Tears, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and NY Studio
Carl Saunders--Bill Holman, Las Vegas and LA Studio
Jeff Davis--Woody Herman, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Machito and Clark Terry
Earl Gardner--Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Mingus, SNL and NY Studio
Chuck Schmidt--Buddy Rich, Stan Kenton and Dallas Studios
John Thomas--Count Basie, Woody Herman and LA Studio
George Graham--LA Studio
Gary Grant--LA Studio
Joe Davis--LA Studio
Graham Young--LA Studios
Arnie Chycoski--Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass
Roger Ingram--Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson, Harry Connick and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
Wayne Bergeron--Maynard Ferguson and LA Studio
Byron Stripling--Count Basie, Woody Herman and NY Studio
Mike Williams--Count Basie
Greg Gisbert--Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Paul Anka and NY Studio
Eric Miyashiro--Buddy Rich, Woody Herman and Tokyo Studio
Walter White--Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, Mingus and NY Studio
Craig Johnson--Maynard Ferguson and NY Studio
Paul Stephens--Maynard Ferguson and the Jazz Ambassadors
Tony Kadleck--Maria Schneider and NY Studio
Bob Millikan--NY Studio
Chris Jaudes--NY Studio
Frank Greene--Maynard Ferguson, David Letterman Show and NY Studio
Lee Thornburg--Tower of Power and LA Studio
Piro Rodriguez--Tito Puente and NY Studio
Peter Olstad--Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, Tom Jones and NY Studio
Tom DeLibero--Las Vegas
Dave Trigg--Natalie Cole, Liza Minelli, LA and NY Studios
Luis Aquino--Miami Studio
Bill Churchville--Tower of Power, Tom Jones, LA Studios
Scott Englebright--Maynard Ferguson
Sal Cracchiolo--Poncho Sanchez, Tom Jones, Tower of Power
Seneca Black--Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
Elpidio Chapotin--Havana Studios and NG La Banda
Serafin Aguilar--Maynard Ferguson & Queen Latifah
Adolfo Acosta--Maynard Ferguson and Tower of Power
Kevin Bryan--Duke Ellington, Harry Connick Jr. and NY Studio
Brian MacDonald--The Airmen of Note

**This list is by no means exclusive. Please e-mail me with thoughts or suggestions.

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