Booker Little

Born: April 2, 1938 | Died: October 5, 1961    Primary Instrument: Trumpet

Booker Little

Booker Little was a prolific trumpeter and composer by any standard, but considering his tragically brief life, his musical achievements are astonishing. A Memphis native, he trained at the Chicago Conservatory of Music, where he impressed Sonny Rollins. This association led to a number of successful recordings with Max Roach in the late 1950s. Little went on to perform on other classic albums, such as John Coltrane’s Africa/Brass and Eric Dolphy’s At the Five Spot.

His trumpet sound was characterized both by undeniable technical facility and a dark tone that reflects the bittersweet nature of his life. But it is as a composer that Little left his real mark. Despite fluency in the language of Be-Bop, his own albums display a progressive slant toward composition -- albums such as Out Front are distinguished by dense, dissonant harmonies; tempo and meter shifts; and extended forms that give equal attention to composed and improvised sections....
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Booker Little: Booker Little 4 + Max Roach
Booker Little: Booker Little Quartet
Booker Little: Out Front*
Booker Little: Booker Little and Friend
Max Roach: On the Chicago Scene
Max Roach: At Newport
Max Roach: Deeds, Not Words*
Max Roach: Award Winning Drummer
Max Roach: Freedom Now Suite*
Max Roach: Percussion, Bitter Sweet
Eric Dolphy: Far Cry!*
Eric Dolphy: At the Five Spot
Abbey Lincoln: Straight Ahead
John Coltrane: Africa/Brass
Slide Hampton: Slide!
Frank Strozier/Booker Little: Waltz of the Demons
Earl Zindars/Armando Peraza: The Soul of Jazz Percussion
Teddy Charles: Jazz in the Garden
Young Men from Memphis: Down Home Reunion
Bill Henderson: Bill Henderson Sings
Jazz Artists Guild: Newport Rebels

Note: An asterix indicates profile editor's personal favorites.

Many of these albums have been reissued under alternate titles, on a variety of labels. For a comprehensive discography, check out:

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