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Booker Little


Recorded in New York during November 1958 featuring Booker Little (trumpet), George Coleman (tenor saxophone), Ray Draper (tuba), Art Davis (bass), and Max Roach (drums).

Booker Little was born in Memphis, Tennessee on April 2, 1938. He studied at the Chicago Conservatory from 1956 to 1958 and it was during this time that he worked with leading local musicians such as Johnny Griffin. Later, after moving to New York, he became associated with drummer Max Roach and multi-instrumentalist virtuoso Eric Dolphy, recording with them both as a sideman and a leader. With Dolphy, he co-led a residency at the Five Spot club in New York in June 1961, from which three classic albums were eventually issued by Prestige Records. It was during this stint that he began to show promise of expanding the expressive range of the "vernacular" bebop idiom started by Clifford Brown in the mid-1950s. He also appeared on Dolphy's album Far Cry (New Jazz 8270), recorded December 21, 1960. He died in New York of complications resulting from uremia on October 5, 1961.

Despite his premature death from kidney failure at the age of 23, Little made an important contribution to jazz. Stylistically, his sound is rooted in the playing of Clifford Brown, featuring crisp articulation, a burnished tone and balanced phrasing. He is considered to be one of the first trumpet players to develop his own sound after Clifford Brown.

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