born on 15/10/1916 in Birmingham , AL, United States
died on 5/9/1950 in Los Angeles, CA, United States
Albert H. (Al) Killian (15 Oct 1916 in Birmingham, Alabama – 5 September 1950 in Los Angeles, California) was an American jazz trumpet player and occasional bandleader during the big band era, also known for playing jump blues and East Coast blues.
He was born in Birmingham, Alabama, United States. Killian got his start playing with Charlie Turner's Arcadians (mid-1930s) and went on to play with big bands led by Baron Lee, Teddy Hill, Don Redman, Claude Hopkins, Count Basie (1940-1942), Charlie Barnet (off and on from 1943 through 1946) and Lionel Hampton (1945). In 1946 Killian started his own big band, but soon quit bandleading to tour with Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic concert series, where he played alongside such musicians as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Lester Young. Following this he briefly toured with bands led by Billy Eckstine, Earle Spencer, and Boyd Raeburn, before landing a spot in Duke Ellington's band, where he toured and recorded for the last three years of his life. During this time he also led his own record session in Stockholm, and took part in one led by Lester Young, as well as participating in several jam sessions which were also recorded.
After leaving Ellington's band he settled in Los Angeles, California, where he was murdered, in a case of mistaken identity, by his landlord at the age of 33.
- Killian was without a doubt the greatest of the Late-Swing-Era high-note lead trumpeters. Not necessarily an outstanding jazz soloist, Killian specialized in stratospheric trumpeting which was totally consistent and often defied belief. His death in Los Angeles at the hands of a crazed landlord in 1950 was a stunning loss to jazz. — Gunther Schuller, 1989
- The Complete Encyclopedia of Popular Music and Jazz, 1900-1950, Three volumes, by Roger D. Kinkle, Arlington House Publishers, New Rochelle, NY (1974)
- California Death Index, 1940-1997
- 2.0 2.1 2.2 Thedeadrockstarsclub.com - accessed July 2010
- The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Third edition, eight volumes, edited by Colin Larkin. London: MUZE, 1998, Grove's Dictionaries, New York (1998)
- The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, First edition, two volumes, edited by Barry Kernfeld, Macmillan Press, London (1988)
- The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, edited by Barry Kernfeld, St. Martin's Press (1994)
- The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Second edition, three volumes, edited by Barry Kernfeld, Macmillan Publishers, London (2002)
- Gunther Schuller, The Swing Era: The Development of Jazz, 1930-1945, Oxford University Press (1989) ISBN 019504312X; ISBN 9780195043129; ISBN 0195071409; ISBN 9780195071405