Trumpetter Cootie Williams
Trumpeter
birth name: Charles Melvin Williams

Cootie Williams

July 10, 1911, Mobile, AL ~ September 15, 1985, New York, NY

Throughout his years with Ellington, and on many occasions under his own name, Cootie consistently displayed a vigorous command of his instrument. Whether playing the muted colourful compositions of Ellington, or playing in the full-throated manner that reflected his admiration for Louis Armstrong, the distinctive trumpet playing of Cootie Williams remains one of the lasting joys of jazz. ~ All about Jazz: Cootie Williams ~ retrieved July 9, 2013 © All About Jazz

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Cootie Williams, one of the finest trumpeters of the 1930s, expanded upon the role originally formed by Bubber Miley with Duke Ellington's Orchestra. Renowned for his work with the plunger mute, Cootie was also a fine soloist when playing open. Starting as a teenager, Cootie Williams played with a variety of local bands in the South, coming to New York with Alonzo Ross' Syncopators. He played for a short time with the orchestras of Chick Webb and Fletcher Henderson (recording with the latter), before joining Duke Ellington as Miley's replacement in February 1929. He was a fixture with Duke's band during the next 11 years, not only recording many classics with Ellington (including ‘Echoes of Harlem’ and ‘Concerto for Cootie’), but leading some of his own sessions and recording with Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson, and Billie Holiday, in addition to being a guest at Benny Goodman's Carnegie Hall Concert in 1938. His decision to leave Ellington and join Goodman's orchestra in 1940 was considered a major event in the jazz world. During his year with Benn, Williams was well-featured with both the big band and Goodman's sextet. The following year he became a bandleader, heading his own orchestra which, at times in the 1940s, featured such up-and-coming players as pianist Bud Powell, tenorman Eddie Lockjaw Davis, altoist/singer Eddie Cleanhead Vinson, and even Charlie Parker. ~ Allmusic: Cootie Williams ~ retrieved July 9, 2013 © Allmusic

Cootie Williams ~ Inducted in the 1993 Big Band And Jazz Hall Of Fame.



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