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Charles H. Turner Collection

Collection Overview

  • 94 jazz arrangements, some with duplicates
  • 10 recordings, various formats
  • photographs, memorabilia, etc.


Charles Henry Turner (1936-2006) was a jazz musician most noted for his position as lead trumpeter for Frank Sinatra during the years 1975-1983.

Turner was born in Bunnell, Florida, in 1936, and attended Florida State University from 1954-1959. During his tenure here he was active in the Marching Chiefs and began to attract attention from outside orchestras, and eventually made his way to Las Vegas. In 1975, Frank Sinatra recruited him to play lead trumpet in both his big band and his smaller tour band, which he did for eight years.

In addition to his time with Sinatra, Turner also performed with Ella Fitzgerald, Jimmy Dorsey, Ralph Flanagan, Harry James, Charlie Spivak, Count Basie, and other jazz notables; he also played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Turner released one solo album on the Chas Records label in 1984. Entitled What’s New, it consists primarily of songs from the Sinatra catalog; Sinatra himself directed the orchestra.

The Charles H. Turner Collection consists principally of scores and personal effects donated by David Brinson and Turner’s mother, Norma Turner. The scores are primarily copies of handwritten arrangements of jazz standards made for Sinatra’s band, but there are also some published scores, including a few brass arrangements of Baroque pieces like the six-part Ricercar from Bach’s Musical Offering.

Other materials in the collection include photographs, newspaper clippings, and programs; sound recordings; assorted FSU memorabilia; four recorded interviews with Norma Turner; recorded interviews with Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and Florence Ashby, who knew him during his time at FSU; and a Benge pocket trumpet from Turner’s collection.