Eugene “Snooky” Young, (February 3, 1919 – May 11, 2011), jazz trumpet player.

Snooky Young was one of the great swing band trumpet players, noted for his brilliant use of the plunger mute in his solo playing.

He started out playing in the bands of Jimmie Lunceford and Lionel Hampton, before joining the Count Basie Orchestra, playing important solos during the 1950’s and early 60’s on albums featuring the arrangements of Quincy Jones, Billy Byers, and Neal Hefti. He was also a founding member of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. His most high-profile and longest lasting association was with the Tonight Show Band. He joined the group in 1967 and remained until Johnny Carson’s retirement in 1992, where he was frequently featured. He also appeared in the 1941 film, Blues in the Night, and dubbed the trumpet parts for Jack Carson’s character, Leo Powell.

Although he recorded only a handful of albums as a leader, he appeared on hundreds of recordings for other artists, including Tony Bennett, Benny Carter, Benny Goodman, B.B. King, Wes Montgomery, Doc Severinsen, Sarah Vaughn, Gerald Wilson, and even on The Band’s concert recording Rock of Ages. He continued to perform until almost the end of his life, most recently with the Hamilton-Clayton Jazz Orchestra. In 2009, he was named an NEA Jazz Master. He died at his home in Newport Beach, California from lung disease at the age of 92.

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