Celebrating Snooky Young

You’d probably guess that a man with a name like Snooky Young has got to be some sort of hip jazz guy—and you’d be right. For most of the last century Snooky has been part of the large and diverse jazz community we have here in Los Angeles. To honor this cultural legacy, LACMA is teaming up with the Los Angeles Jazz Society to present Snooky with the L.A. Jazz Treasure Award at tomorrow night’s Friday Night Jazz concert at the museum.

Snooky is a trumpet player—90 years young—and was just named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. He has been a part of so many historic big bands—starting with Jimmie Lunceford in the 1930s and then on to the bands of Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, and the Tonight Show Band. He still plays regularly with both the Gerald Wilson Big Band and Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. That’s a lot of jazz history rolled into one man. Just to give a taste, here’s a great (if a little grainy) clip of Snooky’s work with the Tonight Show band:

We’re going to honor Snooky on Friday with an award and proclamation—but mostly we’re going to celebrate this great soul who represents the rich tradition of world-class jazz we are surrounded with here in L.A. And that’s really what LACMA’s Friday Night Jazz series is all about. What began eighteen years ago with just a handful of people now numbers nearly 2,000 people each week. From these humble beginnings, we’ve grown into a premier location to present the greatest jazz artists in the world—the L.A. kind, like Snooky Young.

Mitch Glickman, Director of Music Programs

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