Booker Little

born on 2/4/1938 in Memphis, TN, United States

died on 5/10/1961 in New York City, NY, United States

Booker Little

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Booker Little Jr. (April 2, 1938 – October 5, 1961)[1] was an American jazz trumpeter and composer. He appeared on recordings, both as side-man and as leader. Little was closely associated with Max Roach, but also performed with John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy and was strongly influenced by Sonny Rollins and Clifford Brown. He died at age 23.[2]


Little was born in Memphis, Tennessee.[1] He was the fourth child of Booker, a Pullman porter (who was also a trombonist) and his wife, Ophelia (who played piano).[3][4] Little graduated from Manassas High School.[5] He studied trumpet at the Chicago Conservatory with Joseph Summerhill from 1956 to 1958 and it was during this time that he worked with leading local musicians such as Johnny Griffin. Later, after moving to New York, while he lived with Sonny Rollins, Little became associated with drummer Max Roach and multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy, recording with them both as a sideman and a leader.[2]

With Dolphy, he co-led a residency at the Five Spot club in New York in June 1961, from which three albums were eventually issued by the Prestige label. It was during this stint that he began to show promise of expanding the expressive range of the "vernacular" bebop idiom which originated with Clifford Brown, his most obvious influence as a performer. He also appeared on Dolphy's album Far Cry (New Jazz 8270), recorded on December 21, 1960.

Little died of complications resulting from uremia on October 5, 1961, in New York City.[1][6] He was survived by his wife, two sons (Booker T. III, and Larry Cornelius), and two daughters (Larue Cornelia[5] and Ana Dorsey).


As leader

As sideman

With John Coltrane

With Eric Dolphy

  • Far Cry (Prestige, 1960)
  • At the Five Spot (New Jazz / OJC, 1961)

With Slide Hampton

  • Slide Hampton and His Horn of Plenty (Strand, 1959)

With Bill Henderson

  • Bill Henderson Sings (Vee Jay, 1959)

With Abbey Lincoln

  • Straight Ahead (Candid, 1961)

With Max Roach

  • Max Roach + 4 on the Chicago Scene (EmArcy, 1958)
  • Max Roach + 4 at Newport (Emarcy, 1958)
  • Deeds, Not Words (Riverside, 1958)
  • Award-Winning Drummer (Time, 1958)
  • The Many Sides of Max (Mercury, 1959)
  • We Insist! (Candid, 1960)
  • Percussion Bitter Sweet (Impulse!, 1961)
  • Alone Together: The Best of the Mercury Years (Verve); Booker Little performs on three tracks recorded in 1958 and 1959

With Frank Strozier

  • Fantastic Frank Strozier (Vee-Jay, 1960)


  1. ^ a b c – accessed June 2010
  2. ^ a b Sullivan, Leo T. "Biography". Booker Little. Leo T. Sullivan Jazz Websites. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  3. ^ "Sixteenth Census of the United States (1940) [database on-line], Memphis City, 8th Ward, Shelby County, Tennessee, Enumeration District: 98-35, Page: 3A, Lines: 17–22, household of Booker Little". United States: The Generations Network. 1940-04-04. Retrieved 2013-08-28.
This page was last modified 01.02.2019 03:12:21

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