Junior Cook

Junior Cook

Tenor Sax icon Tenor Sax

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February 3, 1992 (Age 57) died

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July 22, 1934 Birthday

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Pensacola, Florida, U.S. Birthplace

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Junior Cook was a well-respected hard bop tenor saxophone player, known for his work with Horace Silver's Quintet. Cook began his career in the 1950s playing with bassist Gloria Bell and then with Dizzy Gillespie before joining Horace Silver's Quintet in 1958. He remained with Silver until that group dissolved in 1964 and then joined Blue Mitchell's Quintet, which employed many of the same musicians. He went on to play with musicians such as Freddie Hubbard, Elvin Jones, George Coleman, Louis Hayes, Bill Hardman, and the McCoy Tyner big band. As a leader, Cook released eight albums over the course of his career. Cook passed away in 1992 at the age of 57.


Junior Cook taught at the Berklee College of Music for a year in the 1970s. Junior Cook and Gigi Gryce were both from Pensacola, Florida and had the same music teacher. When Junior Cook first moved to New York he would spend all day in the balcony of the Apollo Theatre listening to bands perform.

Early Life

Herman "Junior" Cook was born into a musical family in Pensacola, Florida in 1934. His father and older brother both played the trumpet and Cook began playing the alto saxophone when he was in high school. He later switched to the tenor saxophone.