Cootie Williams  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Charles Melvin ("Cootie") Williams (July 24, 1910 - September 15, 1985) was an American jazz and rhythm and blues trumpeter. He is a 1991 inductee of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.

A native of Mobile, Alabama, he rose to prominence as a member of Duke Ellington's orchestra, with which he performed from 1929 to 1940. He also recorded his own sessions during this time, both freelance and with other Ellington sidemen. In 1940 he joined Benny Goodman's orchestra, then in 1941 formed his own orchestra, in which over the years he employed Charlie Parker, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Bud Powell, Eddie Vinson, and other important young players.

He began to play more rhythm and blues in the late 1940s. In the 1950s he toured with small groups and fell into obscurity. In 1962 he rejoined Ellington and stayed with the orchestra until 1974, after Ellington's death. In 1975, he performed during the Super Bowl IX halftime show.

Cootie Williams was renowned for his growling "jungle" style trumpet playing (in the tradition of trumpeter Bubber Miley and trombonist Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton) and for his use of the plunger mute, and is reputed to have inspired Wynton Marsalis's use of it.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Cootie Williams" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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