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Great Trumpet Players And Their Stories

by Julissa Chatfield (2020-04-11)

violin1_10th.jpgWhenever one speaks of great trumpet players, the first name that comes to mind is that of Louis Armstrong. Born in New Orleans on August 4th 1901, Armstrong was a descendent of a slave family. He grew up in the rough areas of the townand at the age of eleven, he was arrested on charges of firing during New Year eve celebrations and sent to a reform school.

This proved to be a turning point in his life.Armstrong was always fascinated by the sound of music drifting from the bars and brothels and so it was not uncommon for him to show keen interest in music. He received formal training in music at the reform school where he also led his school band. In his teens this immensely talented musician played as a soloist in the local bands and later Joe "King" Oliver the legendary cornet player asked Armstrong to join him in Chicago. Armstrong proved to be the better player and then decided to move to New Yorkto be a part of Fletcher Henderson's band. Besides joining the big band, he also switched over from cornet to trumpet; a transformation that made him one of the most popular musicians of all times. Armstrong's journey has been long and successful. He became a star and a respected person at the time when racism was at its peak. Louis Armstrong mesmerized people with his unique style. He invented, improvised and developed a style of his own. Louis Armstrong inspired the musicians of his age and is still a strong influence in the present day world of music.

Miles Davis is another legendary trumpet player. In his 50 year career, as a trumpet player he consistently experimented and improvised trumpet playing. Davis' father was a dentist and his mother a music teacher so music was very much in his genes.After receiving his formal training in trumpet playing, he played at the bars and later moved to New York. Davis' career was more of a roller coaster ride as his heroin addiction put him out of the music scene for a while as did an automobile accident and hip replacement. Miles never stopped experimenting and left behind a rich legacy.

Other big names from the old school are Bix Beiderbecke, Roy Eldridge, Dizzy Gillespie, Theodore Fats Navarro, and Clifford Brown.These geniuses inspired and influenced many musicians.

Among the present day trumpet players, Arturo Sandoval stands tall among his peers.Dizzy Gillespie who fused Latin tunes with American Jazz was Sandoval's idol. Sandoval sought political asylum in the U.S in 1990, and in 1991, he became a citizen of America.Sandoval won 4 Grammy and 6 Billboard awards, and is considered the best all-around trumpet player of this age.Wynton Marsalisand Freddie Hubbard are other popular trumpeters of the present age.


For years great trumpet players like Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Bix Beiderbecke, Roy Eldridge, Dizzy Gillespie and Clifford Brown to name a few have enthralled the audience with their unique style and skill. These talented players not only gave a new meaning to trumpet playing but also worked towards the evolution and development of jazz.Among the new players, Freddie Hubbard, Wynton Marsalis and Arturo Sandoval have created waves on the music front.

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