Benny Bailey was born on August 13, 1925 in Cleveland, Ohio. His father was an amateur saxophonist and his mother played the piano. After some experience on piano and flute early in his career, he switched to the trumpet and studied at the Cleveland Conservatory of Music. He started his career in the Jay McShann orchestra. In the forties and fifties he played with some of the best-known jazz musicians, like Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie and Quincy Jones. Quincy Jones, who wrote the song “Meet Benny Bailey,” admired Bailey for his marvelous breath control and remarkable range. According to Jones, Bailey had the most perfect technique.
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