Profiles

Hugh Ragin — Trumpet

Hugh Ragin

An inspiring teacher, creative musician and trumpet virtuoso, Ragin has been named "a trumpeter with very few peers in terms of imagination or technical command" by jazz biographer Francis Davis. Ragin has collaborated with musicians including David Murray, Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Spencer Barefield, Fred Wesley, Wadada Leo Smith, Maynard Ferguson, D.D. Jackson, and Andrew Cyrille, on recorded and live performances that range from bebop and freebop, to the most 'out' of avant-garde improvising. Students are equally inspired by Ragin's enthusiasm for education. Despite his success as a performer, Ragin insist on being an educator first. His life has been formed as a compassionate gesture "to share the knowledge, and bring more people into the music. For all areas of his teaching, Ragin puts a strong emphasis on the fundamentals. "I like to give enough material so that the students can absorb what's useful, discard what is unnecessary, and add what's uniquely their own. It's like Charlie Parker said, 'First you learn the scales, then you forget them.'" Drawing from his personal experience, Ragin says, "technique includes the knowledge of the instrument as well as the knowledge of the language." Ragin attributes his own control of the trumpet to studying the basics, namely the H. L. Clark Technical Studies and the Charlie Parker Omnibook.