ANOTHER BURNING HIGH NOTE GONE: Snooky Young, lead trumpeter (1919-2011)

In case you’d bump into this album, please try to ignore the most tasteless jazz cover of them all (why this one with this very cover ever came out in Japan is another question), and listen instead to the Basie Band in full blast.

One of the trumpeters who was responsible for all of a sudden exploding brass sections has left our world’s stage a few days ago:

Mr. Snooky Young, the ever swinging high-note specialist in Count Basie’s and many other jazz orchestras. He was one of the rare lead trumpeters who could play an occasional solo as well, but with taste, and musicality.

Doug Ramsey from Rifftides listed the quite impressive line-up of bandleaders who relied on Snooky’s solid service:

“He was with Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Benny Carter, Gerald Wilson, Benny Goodman, Charlie Barnet, Thad Jones-Mel Lewis, Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland and the Capp-Pierce Juggernaut.”

… which is a who-is-who of swinging big bands; it says all about the quality of the man.

Blog owner’s note: Learn more in Doug’s obituary on Snooky.

To honor this busy, disciplined, and hard working trumpet colleague, I’ve uploaded a mini playlist for all your pleasure.

It features Snooky in a ‘live’ version of One O’Clock Jump, recorded in New York, in August 1946, where you can hear him with a brief solo passage too. Illinois Jacquet plays the jumpin’ tenor. Rudy Rutherford does the expressive clarinet commentaries.

The two remaining tracks “Kid From Redbank” & “Splanky” were taken from Atomic Basie (1957). The compositions on this album are by yet another (former) trumpeter: Neal Hefti.

The Snooky Young Memorial Playlist

One of my students has sent me what Chuck Findley wrote in a trumpeter forum:

“I’m sorry to say that we lost a legend today. My dear friend Snooky Young passed away this morning around 6:30

I had the honor to have worked with him for over 40 years.

Snooky was in my opinion the ultimate in lead trumpet playing and unique solos. He swung like no other I’ve ever heard. He will be missed by all but his music will never die.

What a class act Snooky was. RIP Chuck & Zelee”

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