O trompetista de jazz Cootie Williams nasceu no 10 de julho de 1911 e integrou a Orquestra de Duke Ellington durante os anos 30. Foi utilizando, o abafador no trompete, que ele externou toda sua versatilidade, agregando à banda um som original.
Williams formou uma banda propria e é lembrado por ter sido o co-autor da canção "Round Midnight" em parceria com Thelonious Monk. Antes de trabalhar com Duke Ellinton também teve importante envolvimento com as bandas de Chick Webb e Flecher Henderson.
Cootie Willimas deixou a banda de Ellington em 194o para em seguida aliar-se a banda de Benny Goodman, com a qual ele ja havia se apresentado, durante o histórico concerto do Carnegie Hall em 1938.
Em 1948, com o fim da era das big bands, Williams reduziu seu grupo a um sexteto e passou a experimentar mais o genero do rhythm & blues. A banda tornou-se comercial por um tempo, contrariando a orientação de Williams, que eventualmente, acabou retornando para suas raizes jazzisticas com uma formação de jazz.
Em 1962 Cootie voltou para a banda de Ellington onde permaneceu até mesmo, quando Mercer Ellington assumiu o comando, após a morte de Duke, seu pai, em 1974.
Cootie Williams faleceu em 1985.
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Famed trumpeter Charles Melvin Williams, aka, Cootie Williams born 10, July 1911, in Mobile, Alabama, was an integral part of Duke Ellington's orchestra during the 1930s. His extraordinary talent with the plunger mute helped shape the band's sound and propel it to the top. Williams later led a successful band of his own. He also is remembered as co-author of the classic jazz number '''Round Midnight,'' with Thelonius Monk.
Williams began performing at an early age, working around his native Mobile, Alabama, with Johnny Pope and Holman's Jazz Band and touring with the Young Family Band before moving to Pensacola, Florida, at age 15, where he joined a group led Calvin Shields. In 1928 he traveled north with the Alonzo Ross DeLuxe Syncopators and settled in New York City. He worked with Arthur Ford, Chick Webb, and Fletcher Henderson before signing with Ellington in 1929, where he replaced the departing Bubber Miley.
He quickly became a key member of Ellington's orchestra. He possessed a greater range of technique and emotion than his predecessor and was able to expand upon his role in the group. Impressed with the young trumpet player, Ellington would often let him record under his own name using fellow band members. These recordings were alternately credited as Cootie Williams and His Rug Cutters or the Cootie Williams Orchestra.
Williams remained with Ellington until 1940 when he left to join Benny Goodman, whom he had previously worked with during Goodman's famed Carnegie Hall Concert in 1938. Williams played in both the King of Swing's orchestra and his sextet, staying, however, only a year before asking to rejoin Ellington. Ellington instead encouraged him to start his own band. Williams' orchestra debuted at the Grand Terrace Ballroom in Chicago in 1942. At various times it featured such musicians as Bud Powell, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. Vocalists included Bobby Merrill, Eddie Mack, and Pearl Bailey.
In 1948, as the big band era ended, Williams scaled his orchestra down to a sextet and eventually began to focus more on rhythm and blues. The sextet was more commercial oriented than Williams' previous efforts, but he soon returned to his roots, organizing a new jazz combo.
In 1962 Williams rejoined Ellington's orchestra, remaining there after Mercer Ellington took over the band upon his father's death in 1974.
Williams eventually retired the following year due to health problems. Cootie Williams passed away in 1985.
Reference = Jazz Unlimited
Tradução - Humberto Amorim