Home » Musicians » Dupree Bolton

Dupree Bolton

Dupree Bolton - trumpet

An elusive figure, Bolton's early life is shrouded in uncertainty other than that he ran away from home at the age of 14. By 1944, he was in New York City where he played trumpet in Buddy Johnson's band, before moving into the Benny Carter big band. In 1946 he made the first of several disappearances through illness or imprisonment that came on the heels of his drug addiction.

In 1959, his appearance on Harold Land's “The Fox” excited considerable interest owing to his inventive bop styling. Soon afterwards, however, he was in trouble with the law over substance abuse. He reappeared in 1962 to play with Curtis Amy on “Katanga!,” again causing quite a stir.

His startlingly individualistic soloing was inventive and fully formed, his work showing a man of imagination and in complete command of his instrument. The fact that he appears to have made no other records has helped to make these particular recordings touchstones for a lost career.

Not long after the Amy date, Bolton went to prison but played with Bobby Hutcherson in 1967 before once again being imprisoned. While serving time at the Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he played in a prison band. Released in 1982, he worked fleetingly with Dexter Gordon in Oklahoma City but thereafter Bolton drifted from sight but it is believed he relocated to the west coast, where he was rumored to have been a street musician in San Francisco.

Read more




Uptown Records


Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.