Leroy “Hog” Cooper was born on August 31, 1928 in Dallas, Texas and started his career touring with Ernie Fields’ territory band from 1948 to 1951. With his childhood friend David “Fathead” Newman, the two played together in 1954 in the saxophone section backing Lowell Fulson on his first single Reconsider Baby for Chess Records.
In 1957, Newman recommended Cooper to Ray Charles who joined the band the same summer as bassist Edgar Willis, both musicians staying on with Charles for some twenty years. He also played, recorded or toured with Lightnin’ Hopkins, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, The Righteous Brothers, Dr. John, Del Shannon, Joe Cocker and Bobby Short..
Leroy recorded not only with Ray Charles but also with Newman, Hank Crawford, Curtis Amy, Kenny Neal, Noble “Thin Man” Watts and Nat Adderley. Moving to Orlando, Florida baritone saxophonist Leroy Cooper performed locally in Orlando till he passed away on January 15, 2009 with the Smokin’ Torpedoes & Josh Miller Blues Band.
More Posts: saxophone