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Don Sleet

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Biography

Don Sleet was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana (USA)November 1938 and got piano lessons from his father, who was the director of the San Diego School of Music. Later he took up the trumpet and when he was 18 years old he became a trumpet player in the San Diego Symphony (his father was the director), the Diego State College Jazz Band and the Terry Gibbs Big Band. He was invited to become a member of the Lighthouse All-Stars, the leading band for westcoast musicians. (3)

Little is known about Sleet, and sadly he recorded only one album as a leader called “All Members”. On that superb 1961 date, Sleet was accompanied by Jimmy Heath, Wynton Kelly, Ron Carter and Jimmy Cobb. His only other albums were as a sideman. He first appeared on record in 1959 on vocalist Gloria Smyth’s Like Soul! (World Pacific Jazz), Lenny McBrowne and the Four Souls (Riverside) and Eastern Lights. In 1964, he was in the trumpet section on Shelly Manne’s My Fair Lady With The Un-original Cast (Capitol). (1)

“All Members” became the only album of Don Sleet under his own name. Soon after he had recorded it, he left the east coast for California where he found a job at the Shelly’s Manne-Hole, a jazzclub. He passed away, due to cancer, at the age 48 year, in December 1986. (3)

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