Snooky Young

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Snooky Young
Background information
Born(1919-02-03)February 3, 1919
Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
DiedMay 11, 2011(2011-05-11) (aged 92)
Newport Beach, California, U.S.[1]
Instrument(s)Trumpet, flugelhorn
LabelsMaster Jazz, Concord Jazz

Eugene Edward "Snooky" Young (February 3, 1919 – May 11, 2011)[2] was an American jazz trumpeter. He was known for his mastery of the plunger mute, with which he was able to create a wide range of sounds.


Young was lead trumpeter of the Jimmie Lunceford band from 1939 to 1942. He played with Count Basie (three stints totalling eight years), Gerald Wilson and Lionel Hampton, among others, and was an original member of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band.[3]

His longest engagement was with NBC, where, as a studio trumpeter, he joined The Tonight Show Band in 1967 and remained with them until 1992, when the band was replaced by a new, smaller group.

He was part of the touring ensemble, the "Now Generation Brass" that traveled with Doc Severinsen, an ensemble that included other jazz greats such as reed man Lew Tabackin, drummer Ed Shaughnessy, saxophonist & arranger Tommy Newsom as well as singer Robert Ozn. Young went on to performing live concert dates, corporate events, and headlining shows in the main rooms of Las Vegas. The one nighters usually occurred on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays, as Severinsen was committed to The Tonight Show on weeknights.

For the Las Vegas gigs, the nucleus of Severinsen's touring band (Young, conductor Steve Thoma, and drummer Paul Line) would commute to Vegas nightly, leaving Van Nuys Airport around 6:00pm via Lear Jet, arriving in Las Vegas by 7:00. A limousine would transport the musicians directly backstage, where they would dress and prepare for an 8:00 pm and midnight show. Then back to the airport for the ride back to Los Angeles, where Severinsen and Young had their NBC gig, and Steve Thomas and Paul Line were undertaking studio sessions daily.

Young performed nightly with Severinsen, and he was featured prominently for several solos, as well as a trumpet version of "Dueling Banjos". He continued to perform in Los Angeles, appearing on the 1976 Coconut Grove recording Bobby Bland and B.B. King Together Again...Live and again on King's 2008 album One Kind Favor.

He was one of horn players that accompanied rock group The Band on their 1972 live album Rock of Ages.[4]

Young recorded only three albums under his own name. The 1971 album, Boys from Dayton, featured Norris Turney on alto sax, Booty Wood on trombone, Richard Tee on piano and organ, and Cornell Dupree on guitar.[5] His 1978 album with altoist Marshal Royal, Snooky and Marshal's Album, featured pianist Ross Tompkins, rhythm guitarist Freddie Green, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Louie Bellson. Horn of Plenty features Ross Tompkins on piano, John Collins on guitar, Ray Brown on bass, and Jake Hanna on drums.[6]

He received a NEA Jazz Masters Award[7] for 2009 on October 17, 2008, at the Lincoln Center in New York City.[8]

Throughout the years, Young recorded and performed with Gerald Wilson (a friend since their Lunceford days) and his Orchestra. Until 2010, he was still playing and recording with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.

He died of a respiratory ailment in Newport Beach at the age of 92.[9][10]

Harry "Sweets" Edison considered Ed Lewis and Snooky Young "the two greatest first trumpet players" he ever played with.[11]


As leader/co-leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]


  1. ^ Schudel, Matt (May 13, 2011). "Snooky Young, 92-year-old jazz trumpeter, dies". The Washington Post.
  2. ^ Ramsey, Doug (12 May 2011). "Snooky Young, 1919-2011". Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  3. ^ Snooky Young Biography, AllMusic
  4. ^ The Band – Rock of Ages, AllMusic
  5. ^ a b Overview Boys from Dayton: AllMusic. Retrieved 28th April 2013.
  6. ^ a b Horn of Plenty: Overview, AllMusic. Retrieved 28th April 2013.
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ Keepnews, Peter (May 18, 2011). "Snooky Young, a Big Band Trumpeter, Is Dead at 92". The New York Times.
  9. ^ "Snooky Young, trumpeter with Count Basie and 'Tonight Show,' dies at 92 - the Washington Post". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2020-09-17. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  10. ^ "Snooky Young obituary". The Guardian. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  11. ^ Barnhart, Scotty (2005) The World of Jazz Trumpet: A Comprehensive History & Practical Philosophy, pp. 88-9. Hal Leonard Corporation At Google Books. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  12. ^ Snooky and Marshal's Album: Overview, AllMusic. Retrieved 28th April 2013.

External links[edit]