Famous Trumpet Players

Many famous trumpet players come from the world of jazz. The main reason for this is that jazz music allows the player to express the full range of sound that a trumpet can produce. In orchestras and marching bands, trumpets are there to add that bold horn sound, so the subtler qualities of the instrument don't get used.

Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong is probably one of the most recognized names in jazz. Armstrong got his start in music when he received a cornet from the junk dealer he worked for as a child. Armstrong was sent to reform school after firing a gun as a child. It was here that he received his formal musical training. 

After leaving school, he played jazz in the Fate Marable band that brought jazz up the river from New Orleans to Chicago. In 1922, he made his first record with King Oliver's band. From there, he joined the Fletcher Henderson band, where he switched from coronet to trumpet.

Armstrong then started fronting his own groups. He became known for not only his trumpet playing, but also his singing voice and his unusual scat style of singing. By the 1960s, he was on the pop music charts.

Miles Davis
Miles Davis began studying the trumpet at age 12. By high school, he was working musical jobs. He attended the Juilliard School of music, but his real education came from working the jazz clubs with Charlie Parker.

He is credited with pioneering the West Coast style of jazz. He has the biggest selling album in jazz history, "Kind of Blue". In the '60s, he began working with electric instruments, which lead to fusion and jazz-rock compositions. He has even covered pop songs by Cyndi Lauper and Michael Jackson.

Dizzie Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie was a poor boy from South Caroline who taught himself to play the trombone and trumpet. This lead to a music scholarship to the Laurinburg Institute. Gillespie eventually dropped out of school to play professionally.

In New York, he played with Cab Calloway. He moved on from Cab Calloway to play with Charlie Parker. Together, they created the bebop jazz style. In 1946, he formed a band that blended Afro-Cuban influences with bebop. 

Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis, one of the famous Marsalis brothers, was performing traditional New Orleans music in a church band by age 8. At age 14, he was invited to perform with the New Orleans Philharmonic.

During high school, he played with a variety of bands, including the New Orleans Symphony Brass Quintet, New Orleans Community Concert Band and the New Orleans Youth Orchestra. He also performed with a local funk band, The Creators. At age 17, he became the youngest musician to enter the Tanglewood's Berkshire Music Center.

In the 80s, Wynton Marsalis' jazz skills grew as he studied under master drummer and bandleader, Art Blakey. Marsalis has since performed with the likes of Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Sweets Edison, Clark Terry and Sonny Rollins.

Bill Chase
One of the few great trumpet players not closely associated with jazz, Bill Chase made a name for himself during the swing band revival of the 1960s. He led the famous trumpet section of the Woody Herman Band and was well known for his ability to play in the high range.

Maynard Ferguson
Maynard Ferguson debuted with the Stan Kenton Orchestra in the 1950s, where he played lead trumpet. He first performed at a young age as high-note virtuoso. He went on to lead his own big and small bands for more than half a century. 

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