In a recent post I mentioned that a trumpet solo in a classic movie had been dubbed by Manny Klein, a talented but relatively unknown trumpeter who deserves a little more attention. He had a fascinating and varied career, one that included not only playing conventionally, but also mastering something you seldom hear about — a piccolo trumpet, the smallest instrument in the trumpet family.
Klein was a New Yorker who first began finding some career success during the early jazz age while working for bandleader Paul Whiteman. It was the beginning of two decades of solid work with some of the stars of the big band era, including Benny Goodman and the Dorsey Brothers. During this period Klein also relocated to California, where he worked with Artie Shaw, led his own outfit for a while (video below) and began getting some movie soundtrack work too.
By the post-war years he had become well-known among his peers as a master of the trumpet in every variety and in every kind of music. He was a mainstay of the West Coast jazz movement, could sit in for classical concerts, and continued to find a lot of work in movie music. One of his most memorable appearances was his piccolo trumpet solo on Hugo Montenegro’s “Theme From The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.”
Manny Klein was a busy musician for most of the rest of his life, backing up stars like Dean Martin in the recording studio and continuing to play in a variety of venues. He finally slowed down in his later years, and died at age 85 in 1994.