Topic: Al Hirt

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Alois Maxwell Hirt (November 7, 1922 – April 27, 1999) was an American trumpeter and bandleader.

Hirt was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of a police officer, and was known as "Al" or "Jumbo." At the age of six, he was given his first trumpet, which had been purchased at a local pawnshop. He would play in the Junior Police Band with the children of Alcide Nunez, and by the age of 16, Hirt was playing professionally, often with his friend Pete Fountain. During this time, he was hired to play at the local horse racing track, beginning a six-decade connection to the sport.

In 1940 Hirt went to Cincinnati, Ohio to study at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music with Dr. Frank Simon (a former soloist with the John Philip Sousa Orchestra). After a stint as a bugler in the United States Army during World War II, Hirt performed with various Swing big bands, including those of Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and Ina Ray Hutton. In 1950 he became first trumpet and soloist with Horace Heidt's Orchestra.

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