Jazz trumpeters/cornetists who died younger than Bix

by David Tenner

I am trying to make a list of jazz trumpeters or cornetists who died younger than Bix. So far my list is:

Emmett Hardy (June 12, 1903 – June 16, 1925)--22
Sonny Berman (April 21, 1925 – January 16, 1947)--22
Fats Navarro (September 24, 1923 – July 6, 1950)--26
Ray Wetzel (September 22, 1924 – August 17, 1951)--26
Clifford Brown (October 30, 1930 – June 26, 1956)--25
Booker Little (April 2, 1938 – October 5, 1961)--23

Can anyone add to it? (Please confine it to trumpeters/cornetists; applied to jazz musicians in general, it would get a bit too depressingly long...)

Hardy died, unrecorded, of tuberculosis. The lifespans of Berman and Navarro, compared to those of Bix and Bunny, may be taken as grim evidence that heroin kills faster than alcohol. (Another beboop trumpeter, Freddie Webster, died of a heroin overdose at 29--just a slightly longer life than Bix's. Yet Chet Baker somehow managed to make it to 58...) On the other hand, even clean living is no guarantee of long life for trumpeters any more than for anyone else, as Clifford Brown shows. Like Ray Wetzel, he died in a traffic accident. (Booker Little's death was apparently caused by lupus.)

Like Freddie Webster, Bubber Miley doesn't quite make the list; he too lived to be 29.

Posted on Mar 11, 2017, 12:06 AM

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