An excellent trumpeter who took a couple of classic solos on Jelly Roll Morton records, Ward Pinkett was also unfortunately an alcoholic whose life was cut short. The son of an amateur cornetist, Pinkett started on trumpet when he was ten. He played in the school band at Hampton Institute and attended the New Haven Conservatory of Music. After working with the White Brothers Orchestra in Washington D.C., Pinkett traveled to New York with a show. He had short stints with the bands of Charlie Johnson, Willie Gant, Billy Fowler, Henri Saparo, Joe Steele and Charlie Skeete. Pinkett appeared on seven of Morton's recording sessions during 1928-30 and his solos on "Strokin' Away" and "Low Gravy" (both from July 14, 1930) were among the finest of his career. He also worked with Chick Webb, Bingie Madison, Rex Stewart (1933) and Teddy Hill, never really becoming famous. In 1935 Pinkett teamed up with Albert Nicholas and Bernard Addison at Adrian Rollini's Tap Rom and also had a short stint with Louis Metcalf's Big Band. However Ward Pinkett died of pneumonia a month short of his 31st birthday, due to complications from alcoholism. In addition to the Morton recordings, the trumpeter made records with King Oliver, Bubber Miley, Clarence Williams, James P. Johnson and in 1935 with the Little Ramblers.
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