Cootie Williams

Charles Melvin (“Cootie”) Williams (July 24th, 1910 – September 15th 1985) was an American rhythm and blues and jazz trumpeter. He was a member Duke Ellington’s orchestra and performed with them from 1929 to 1940. He recorded sessions with Ellington sidemen and freelance during this period. He joined Benny Goodman’s orchestra in 1940, then formed his own orchestra in 1941. Over the years, he also employed Bud Powell, Eddie “Lockjaw”, Davis, Bud Powell and many other young musicians. In the late 1940s, he began to play rhythm and blues. He toured in small groups during the 1950s and eventually fell into complete obscurity. He returned to Ellington in 1962 and remained with the orchestra until 1974, when Ellington died. Cootie Williams is well-known for his plunger mute use, and it is believed that he inspired Wynton Marsalis to use it. Retrieved from “” User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License and may also be available under the GNU FDL.

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