Eddie Mullens

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While just about any jazz musician with a brain would list Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong as influences, there are also the fortunate ones who can name-check these genre giants as employers. Moving…
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While just about any jazz musician with a brain would list Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong as influences, there are also the fortunate ones who can name-check these genre giants as employers. Moving backwards biographically, Eddie "Moon" Mullens was a member of the Ellington trumpet section for several years beginning in the late '50s, apparently his final professional job before he quit the music business to start up his own photography outfit. Nicknames of course can have myriad, sometimes inexplicable histories behind them, and people with the surname of Mullens seem to be frequently put into orbit as a "Moon." Yet there is still speculation whether some kind of antisocial exhibitionism was involved -- hopefully such a preoccupation was not part of Moon Mullens' shutterbug career.

Innuendo to the front of posterior, major names were certainly not uninterested in this player. The aforementioned ducal connection and two years with Satchmo beginning in 1946 are hardly the end of Mullens' impressive credentials. He was with fellow trumpeter Hot Lips Page in 1938, brilliant composer and saxophonist Benny Carter both prior to the Second World War and following V-J Day, the manic Cab Calloway after leaving Armstrong, and then a decade trying to keep up with Lionel Hampton starting in 1949. Mullens tended to find himself in excellent company when it came to large-band brass sections. The 1962 Elllington track entitled "Turkish Coffee" is an excellent example, combining Mullens' aromatic sound with sips from Cat Anderson, Willie Cook, and Ray Nance.