Junior Cook was a hard bop tenor saxophone player.
Cook was born in Pensacola, Florida. After playing with Dizzy Gillespie in 1958, Cook gained some fame for his longtime membership in the Horace Silver Quintet (1958- 1964); when he and Blue Mitchell left the popular band, Cook played in Mitchell's quintet (1964-1969). Later associations included Freddie Hubbard, Elvin Jones, George Coleman, Louis Hayes (1975-1976), Bill Hardman (1979-1989), and the McCoy Tyner big band. In addition to many appearances as a sideman, Junior Cook recorded as a leader for Jazzland (1961), Catalyst (1977), Muse, and SteepleChase.
Despite the fact that he gained some fame between bop fans during the last years of his life, Junior Cook died alone in his apartment in New York City, according to the testimony of the Sun Ra trumpeter Mra Oma.
From the liner notes, Junior's Cookin'
It has become common practice for a sideman to record as a leader after having been with a group for a short time. There have been cases where a sideman did more albums than his regular group leader in the course of a year. Junior Cook's pattern has been the complete opposite of this. Although he has been the featured tenorman with the Horace Silver Quintet since 1958, has recorded at length with him on four occasions, and has done a couple of sideman albums with Kenny Burrell, Cook had never made a date of his own until 1961.