Here are some big names to start your own list of favourite famous trumpet players. Most good musicians enjoy collaborating with other good players, and these Trumpet players show up in all kinds of interesting places with lots of other great artists. Try to listen to a variety of players and styles of music.
There are lots of websites where Trumpet enthusiasts list their favourite famous trumpet players. Those lists are generally skewed either towards Jazz, Commercial or Classical Trumpet players. Some of the best play well in any style but there are definitely specialists. Listen for differences in tone, technique, style, improvisation and anything else that interests you.
List of Famous Trumpet Players
Open up a tab and have fun with these names. Remember this is just the driveway – there’s a lot of road out there!
Current Trumpet Players
These current Trumpet players are all famous* and still playing concerts, making recordings and most of them have websites and YouTube videos you can visit.
- Wynton Marsalis
- Jens Lindeman
- Tine Thing Helseth
- Rashawn Ross
- Brownman Ali
- Bria Skonberg
- Arturo Sandoval
- Ingrid Jensen
- Wayne Bergeron
- Étienne Charles
- Alison Balsom
* Ok, so some are more famous than others, some I’ve played with or heard live and respect and some I’ve just spent a lot of hours listening to.
Legendary Famous Trumpet Players
Old Dead Guys Whose Recordings Will Live Forever on YouTube – Real Trumpet Heroes!
If you want to listen to some of the best you could start with these famous trumpet players. There are hundreds or even thousands of other really great players and the internet is littered with lists of who are the best. Listen for yourself and start your own list but don’t ever think it’s done.
- Maurice André
- Louis Armstrong
- Chet Baker
- Clifford Brown
- Miles Davis
- Timofei Dokschitzer
- Maynard Ferguson
- Armando Ghitalla
- Bud Herseth
- William Vacchiano
- Cootie Williams
My Personal Trumpet Heroes
Players who have taught me, helped me and shaped my playing over years and decades.
Lou was the new trumpet teacher at the University of Victoria when I first went there. He was fresh from the New York Philharmonic and American Brass Quintet and did his best to fix my many bad habits and get me moving in the right direction. I’m older now than he was then but his wisdom, great playing and thorough approach to teaching still affect me daily – sometimes in my practise routine; sometimes not. When the snow melts and I get the license plate on my bike I remember him.
Eddie retired to my area from the San Francisco Symphony and the San Francisco Opera and thought he was going to hang up his horns. Instead he joined the Okanagan Symphony, formed a brass quintet and picked right up where Lou Ranger left off in my education. He refused to “teach” me in the formal sense but guided me through hundreds of rehearsals and performances even when his health began to fail. He had some great stories – I think that’s a future post.
Audrey Patterson (née Tannant)
Audrey is my current partner in the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra and is continuing the tradition of making me a better player. There’s nothing like sitting beside a player you respect and admire. She’s been my Principal Trumpet for at least a decade now and still manages to teach me new things.
Last weekend she performed the “Vivaldi Concerto for Two Trumpets” with Jens Lindeman and rocked it. Then she changed out of her Wonder Woman outfit and played Principal through Jens’ glittering performance of “Dreaming of the Masters” and led a trumpet section of Biblical proportions through “The Pines of Rome”. That all happened twice on Friday – just sayin’. (btw Jens did some heavy lifting on that program too … The Albinoni was thrown in for just for laughs. I feel a Trumpet Endurance post coming on soon.)