Tom Harrell  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Tom Harrell (born June 16, 1946) is a renowned American post-bop jazz trumpeter and composer.

Biography and music

Tom Harrell was born in Urbana, Illinois and began playing the trumpet at age eight. He soon moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and was gigging with local bands by age thirteen. In 1969 he graduated from Stanford University with a music composition degree and joined Stan Kenton's orchestra, touring and recording with them throughout 1969.

After leaving Kenton, Harrell played with Woody Herman's big band (1970-1971), Azteca (1972), the Horace Silver Quintet (1973-1977), the Sam Jones big band, the Lee Konitz Nonet (1979-1981), George Russell, the Mel Lewis Orchestra (1981), and Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra. In addition, he recorded albums with Bill Evans, Dizzy Gillespie, Ronnie Cuber, Bob Brookmeyer, Lionel Hampton, Bob Berg, Bobby Shew, among others. From 1983-1989 he was a pivotal member of the Phil Woods Quintet, with whom he toured the world and made many recordings.

Since 1989 Harrell has led his own groups; usually quintets but occasionally big bands. He has appeared at virtually every major jazz club and festival, and recorded under his own name for such record labels as Pinnacle, Blackhawk, Criss Cross, SteepleChase, Contemporary Records, Chesky, and RCA.


Harrell suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. Despite this condition's usually paralyzing effects, Mr. Harrell is able to play trumpet at an extraordinary skill level that has brought him many record deals and was awarded Down Beat Magazine's readers' and critics' polls Best Trumpeter of 1996. Through music and medication, Mr. Harrell is able to cope with his illness. When he plays his trumpet, the effects of his illness nearly disappear.

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

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