Johnny Letman

Johnny Letman (September 6, 1917, McCormick, South Carolina – July 17, 1992) was an American jazz trumpeter.

Letman played early in his career in midwest bands, including those of Jerry Valentine, Scatman Crothers, and Jimmy Raschelle. Moving to Chicago in the middle of the 1930s, he worked with Delbert Bright, Bob Tinsley, Johnny Lang, Nat King Cole (1938), Horace Henderson (1941–42), and Red Saunders (1942). He spent a year or so in Detroit, playing with Teddy Buckner and John Kirby, then moved to New York City in 1944. His credits there included Phil Moore, Lucky Millinder (1945), Cab Calloway (1947–49), Milt Buckner, and Count Basie (1951).

Letman did extensive work as a studio musician and in Broadway shows throughout the 1950s and 1960s. He worked both in and outside of jazz music, and his associations in these decades include Joe Thomas, Stuff Smith, Chubby Jackson, Panama Francis, Dick Wellstood, Hal Singer, Sam Taylor, Eddie Condon, Wilbur De Paris, and Claude Hopkins. In 1968, he played with Milt Buckner and Tiny Grimes in Paris. In the 1970s, he played with Lionel Hampton, Cozy Cole, and Earl Hines. In 1985-86 he led the New Orleans Blues Serenaders, including on a tour of Europe.

Birth and Death Data: Born September 6, 1917 (South Carolina), Died July 17, 1992 (New York City)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1945 - 1951

Roles Represented in DAHR: trumpet

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor D5VB-0515 10-in. 7/27/1945 Lazy lady boogie Phil Moore ; Phil Moore Four Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance sextet instrumentalist, trumpet  
Victor D5VB-0516 10-in. 7/27/1945 As time goes by Phil Moore ; Phil Moore Four Male vocal solo, with vocal group and jazz/dance sextet instrumentalist, trumpet  
Decca 81341 8/6/1951 Cherokee boogie Joey Thomas Orchestra instrumentalist, trumpet  
Decca 81342 8/6/1951 Hobo boogie Joey Thomas Orchestra instrumentalist, trumpet  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Letman, Johnny," accessed December 2, 2023,

Letman, Johnny. (2023). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved December 2, 2023, from

"Letman, Johnny." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2023. Web. 2 December 2023.

DAHR Persistent Identifier


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