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Willie Cook

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Biography

Trumpeter Willie Cook played lead for such jazz luminaries as Duke Ellington, Johnny Hartman, and Count Basie. He also has played with Earl "Fatha" Hinds, Jimmy Lunceford, B.B. King, and Dizzy Gillespie. Born in Tangipahoa, LA, Cook moved with his family to East Chicago,IL, when he was a child. While growing up, he became interested in musical instruments, initially picking up the violin. After switching to trumpet in teens, he joined the King Perry band. In the early '40s, he filled the spot left vacant by Charlie Parker in Jay McShann's band. While a member, Cook made his recording debut on $McShann's "Say Forward I'll March." In 1951, he played with Duke Ellington. In the late '70s, Cook began sharing the stage with Count Basie. While touring in Sweden in 1982, the trumpet player decided to make the country his home. Cook can be seen in Meet the Bandleaders with Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton, a 1985 home video from Swingtime Video. At the age of 75, Willie Cook died in Stockholm, Sweden, on September 22, 2000. He can be heard on recordings by Duke Ellington (Three Suites, Up in Duke's Workshop, At Birdland 1952, The Pasadena Concert [1953], Monterey Jazz Festival, Vol. 1); Dizzy Gillespie (The Complete RCA Victor Recordings 1937-1949); Ella Fitzgerald (The Best of the Songbooks, Verve Jazz Masters 6: Ella Fitzgerald), and Earl Hines (1942-1945 and Golden Age of Swing, Vol. 3), among many others. ~ Ed Hogan
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