Iconic Motown musician and Detroit bandleader Johnny Trudell dies at 82

(May 31, 2021) The Motor City is mourning the passing of a legend today, as iconic bandleader Johnny Trudell has died at age 82. The trumpeter packed an awful lot into those 82 years, and he contributed mightily to the richness of the Detroit musical scene for decades, both as a player and as the leader of the several local bands.

Trudell was a regular on many of the great Motown albums of the 1960s and 70s, even having performed on the oft-celebrated Marvin Gaye classic, “What’s Going On.” His ear and his versatility played a key role in his ascension to the A-List of trumpeters back in the day when the records were recorded live.

(May 31, 2021) The Motor City is mourning the passing of a legend today, as iconic bandleader Johnny Trudell has died at age 82. The trumpeter packed an awful lot into those 82 years, and he contributed mightily to the richness of the Detroit musical scene for decades, both as a player and as the leader of the several local bands.

Trudell was a regular on many of the great Motown albums of the 1960s and 70s, even having performed on the oft-celebrated Marvin Gaye classic, “What’s Going On.” His ear and his versatility played a key role in his ascension to the A-List of trumpeters back in the day when the records were recorded live.

Trudell became a noted bandleader by the end of the 70s, and his performed on scores of Detroit recordings from artists such as Dennis Coffey, Enchantment and The Four Tops. He also fronted several albums of jazz standards. But even more importantly, his group became the “go to” local band for seemingly every major artist who played the clubs of the Motor City, from Frank Sinatra to Rod Stewart to Johnny Mathis to Smokey Robinson, and so many others.

And of course, Trudell led the house band at several upscale clubs in Detroit, including regular stints at the Andiamo restaurants.

Trudell is survived by his wife, Beverly and his brother, as well as his children, Michael, Steven, Michelle and Jeff and three grandchildren.

One of the last bridges to another time in the local music scene, Johnny Trudell was a giant who helped keep Detroit’s star shining as a music mecca for the second half of the 20th century. He will be long remembered and celebrated.

By Chris Rizik

 
Featured Album - Michael Mayo - Bones
Choice Cut - Ascendant feat. Angela Johnson - "It's Not Over"
Song of the Month - Ty Causey feat. Monet Cherise - "U-Turn"
Album of the Month - Derrick "Doc" Pearson - A Family Man

Leave a comment!