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The first trumpeter emerging after Clifford Brown's death to gain his own sound, Booker Little had a tremendous amount of potential before his premature death. He began on trumpet when he was 12 and played with Johnny Griffin and the MJT + 3 while attending the Chicago Conservatory. Little was with Max Roach (1958-1959) and then freelanced in New York. He recorded with Roach and Abbey Lincoln, was on John Coltrane's Africa/Brass album, and was well-documented during a July 1961 gig at the Five Spot with Eric Dolphy. Little had a memorable melancholy sound and his interval jumps looked toward the avant-garde, but he also swung like a hard bopper. Booker Little led four sessions (one album apiece for United Artists, Time, Candid, and Bethlehem), but died of uremia at the age of 23, a particularly tragic loss.
02 April 1938 in Memphis, TN