He was one of the most prolific trumpet players in Jazz, and, man, I can't count the number of albums I have that he is part of, be it Basie, Quincy Jones, Gerald Wilson, Thad Jones-Mel Lewis, and others.
It was sad to learn today that Snooky Young passed away, at the age of 92.
Most of the obits herald his long stay in the 'Tonight Show' band (which was stocked with some major players), but Snooky was much more than that.
From Peter Keepnews;
As lead trumpeter in the ensembles of Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman and many others, Mr. Young had one of the more challenging tasks in jazz. The lead trumpeter is in effect the concertmaster of a big band, establishing the way an arrangement is phrased and interpreted not just by the trumpet section but by the entire ensemble. He must also be comfortable in all registers, especially the highest ones. Mr. Young was widely regarded by his peers as one of the great lead trumpeters.
And Matt Schudel;
He performed on movie soundtracks, including “The Color Purple,” “New York, New York” and “Blazing Saddles” and appeared as a sideman on albums by artists as diverse as B.B. King, Quincy Jones and the rock group the Band.
Mr. Young, who recorded only three albums as a leader of small groups, preferred the brassy, roaring sound of a big band. His specialty was in playing first trumpet, or lead, in a big band. Although he didn’t solo as much as other players in the section, he usually played a tune’s melody and, with his soaring high notes, formed the core of the band’s trumpet sound.
“Snooky is one of the world’s all-time great trumpet players,” saxophonist Bob Cooper told the Los Angeles Times in 1992. “I can always feel it in the sax section when he’s playing — his time, his interpretation of the material, his sound.”
R.I.P. Snooky Young
Here's some of the music, and go out and explore on your own.
Count Basie Orchestra - Li'l Darlin'
Doc Severinsen, Snooky Young, Tommy Newsom, and the NBC Orchestra play the One O'Clock & Bugle Call Rag ... Tonight Show Band