I am very saddened to learn of the passing of my dear friend, Snooky Young. I’ve known him from way back when he was in the Jimmy Lunceford Band. “Snooks” and I have been very close for over fifty years, and I’m going to miss him tremendously.
He was highly respected by every trumpet player in the business, and many tried to lead a section like he did. When I played an exceptional lead part, he’d say, “Aw, Man. You’re just trying to sound like me!” And when he’d play an outstanding solo, I’d say the same thing to him. We got the biggest kick out of that.
I remember back in the ‘70’s when I was in the Tonight Show Band, Aaron Levine came to me and told me that he needed another trumpet player. I sent word to Snooks and he called me back. When I ran it all down to him, he accepted the gig. We had a lot of great times in that band, and we played on many recording sessions together in New York.
His sweet wife Dottie, his children and his grandchildren were very close to me, and he felt the same about my family. We lived around the corner from each other in Bayside, New York for a while, and we shared lots of memorable times at work and at home.
One thing is for sure, he will definitely live on in his great music, and in our hearts. Rest in peace, Snooks. I’ll always love you!