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Don Goldie was one of the more visible and versatile jazz trumpet players of the postwar era, a talented soloist with a wide range who became especially visible in the late '50s working with Jack Teagarden. Born Donald Elliott Goldfield in Newark, NJ, he had serious musicians on both sides -- his father, Harry Goldfield, had played trumpet for many years with Paul Whiteman, while his mother, known as Claire St. Claire, was a concert pianist. While still a young boy, Goldie had started learning the violin, the trumpet, and the piano, and he was good enough on the trumpet to earn a $1,000 scholarship to the New York Military Academy, and he later studied with New York Philharmonic member Nathan Prager. He was in the Army for three years, from 1951 through 1954, and rather than serving in combat was pressed into service on radio and television, helping to produce programs recruiting soldiers to serve in the Korean War. He relocated to Miami to join his mother after returning to civilian life, and appeared (and won an award) on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts and with Dave Garroway. A gig with Bobby Hackett in New York led to more engagements in the city as well as recording work with Lester Lanin, Neal Hefti, and Jackie Gleason, which in turn brought Goldie to the attention of Jack Teagarden. He joined the latter's band in June of 1959, in time to appear on the first of his Roulette Records recordings, At the Roundtable, where he distinguished himself as a soloist and an integral member of the band, scarcely two weeks after coming on board. He stayed with Teagarden until late 1962, sharing the vocals (including a spot-on impersonation of Louis Armstrong that he did on-stage, as part of "Rockin' Chair") with him and, along with the leader and clarinetist Henry Cuesta, all of the solos, also writing a few notable pieces for the group as well. After leaving Teagarden's group, Goldie led his own band for a time, and by the late '60s was working with Gleason in Miami Beach, as well as playing gigs of his own -- in many different jazz and pop idioms -- in the south Florida region, at various hotels and restaurants. Goldie had cut albums for Chess Records' Argo offshoot and the Verve label in the early '60s, and in the 1970s reemerged with his own Jazz Forum label, for which he cut a string of eight LPs, each dedicated to the works of a single composer. He released his final LP, Don Goldie's Dangerous Jazz Band, on the Jazzology label in 1982. In subsequent years, however, declining health -- mostly associated with diabetes -- forced his retirement from playing, and Goldie committed suicide in 1995. One of the more talented and notable soloists of his period, Goldie never achieved the recognition he deserved despite some very visible gigs. As of 2005, none of his own releases had shown up on CD, although his generally superb work with Teagarden can be heard on the Mosaic box The Complete Roulette Jack Teagarden Sessions, and those four Roulette albums are worth tracking down. ~ Bruce Eder & Scott Yanow
Donald Elliott Goldfield
05 February 1930 in Newark, NJ
'50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s