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Uan Rasey (August 22, 1921 – September 27, 2011)[1] was an American musician, best known for his studio work as a trumpet player.

Uan Rasey
Birth nameUan Rasey
Born(1921-08-22)August 22, 1921
Glasgow, Montana, United States
DiedSeptember 26, 2011(2011-09-26) (aged 90)
Woodland Hills, California, United States
GenresJazz; Pop; Classical
Occupation(s)Musician; teacher



Rasey was born in Glasgow, Montana, on August 22, 1921. He taught himself to play the trumpet as a child. He moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1937, where he began playing professionally with such band leaders as Sonny Dunham, Ozzie Nelson and Alvino Rey.[2]

He contracted polio as a child and spent his career playing trumpet while using crutches. Despite his condition, Rasey was a track and field fan, regularly attending events.[3] Reportedly, he initially turned down MGM’s offer to join their film studio orchestra because he wanted in his contract a provision whereby he'd be able not to work on Saturdays, so that he'd get to go to track meets, and he'd be on leave throughout the 1952 summer for the Olympics.[3]

Rasey became a first-call trumpet player for MGM studios from 1949 until the early 1970s, and other studio orchestras. Rasey played trumpet for many film soundtracks, including An American in Paris, Ben-Hur, Bye Bye Birdie, Cleopatra, Gigi, How the West Was Won, My Fair Lady, Singin' in the Rain, Spartacus and West Side Story.[1] One of his most memorable performances was in the film "All the Fine Young Cannibals" (1960) where he ghosted for Robert Wagner's trumpet player character Chad Bixby. Later films included Taxi Driver, High Anxiety and Pennies From Heaven[2] He is known for his solo in composer Jerry Goldsmith's Oscar-nominated score for Roman Polanski's 1974 film Chinatown. He also played on many scores for television and radio, as well as in live orchestras throughout Los Angeles.

Rasey was an active session musician and performed on many albums in the 1950s and 1960s, including those of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Mel Tormé, Doris Day, Frankie Laine, Judy Garland, the Monkees, and others.[2]

He lived in Southern California, where he taught privately into his old age. His pupils included Arturo Sandoval and Jack Sheldon.[2] He died on September 26, 2011, at the Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills Medical Center, from heart problems.[1]


Rasey was widely considered as one of the finest musicians in Hollywood history.[2][4] His accomplishments were recognized in May 2009 by the International Trumpet Guild (ITG) with their Honorary Award, the guild's most prestigious award.[5]


Rasey started using an Olds Recording-model trumpet, made for him in 1949 shortly after he was hired by MGM. In an interview, he related how they made it using the Olds' Ambassador valve section, with the bell length the same as the Super, and the mouthpipe from the old Super Recording. In 1974, he began playing also a King Silver Flair trumpet, which he used for the Chinatown soundtrack, and alternated between the two.[6]

Selected discographyEdit




  1. ^ a b c Obituaries, Los Angeles Times, October 5, 2011
  2. ^ a b c d e "Chinatown trumpeter dies at 90" by Jon Burlingame, Variety, October 2, 2011
  3. ^ a b "A Sound That Will Last Forever" by Leonard Maltin, October 5, 2011
  4. ^ "[Rasey] was... the best trumpet player working at the film studios in Hollywood" : Andre Previn, Rifftides website, September 27, 2011
  5. ^ ITG Honorary Award and ITG Award of Merit, International Trumpet Guild website
  6. ^ "Uan Rasey's Olds Recording Trumpet" by Robb Stewart,

External linksEdit