Ray Copeland (musician)

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Ray Copeland (July 17, 1926 – May 18, 1984) was an American jazz trumpet player and teacher.

Personal life[edit]

Copeland was born in 1926 in Norfolk, Virginia, and died in 1984 in Sunderland, Massachusetts.[1] He studied at Boys High School, Bedford-Stuyvesant.[2]

His son Keith Copeland is a noted jazz drummer.


Copeland's active career spanned from the 1940s to the 1980s.[1] Throughout his career he participated on many swing and hard bop dates, appearing on the well known Monk's Music by Thelonious Monk in 1956. Copeland played with a swinging, upbeat approach, but was undoubtedly overshadowed by other top trumpeters of the era such as Lee Morgan and Clifford Brown. He toured with Thelonious Monk in 1968, and appeared at the 1973 Newport Jazz Festival. Later, Copeland was a Music Professor at Hampshire College, teaching jazz composition.

In 1974, he published the book The Ray Copeland Method and Approach to the Creative Art of Jazz Improvisation.[1] Copeland never recorded as a session leader.


With Art Blakey

With Bob Brookmeyer

With Jimmy Cleveland

With Booker Ervin

With Art Farmer

With Thelonious Monk

With Oscar Pettiford

With Dave Pike

With Randy Weston

With Ernie Wilkins

With Phil Woods