Lewis Soloff

Class of 2017

Lewis Soloff (1944 to 2015) was an American jazz trumpeter and composer who was an integral member of Blood, Sweat & Tears and the band’s self-titled album that won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1970 — where you can hear his solos on hits like “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” and “Spinning Wheel.” He joined the band for five albums in total and also onstage at Woodstock in 1969.

Before Blood, Sweat & Tears — of which he was a member at the band’s peak from 1968 to 1973 — Soloff played with Maynard Ferguson and Tito Puente and then went on to play on numerous albums by artists such as George Benson, Marianne Faithfull, Frank Sinatra, and Art Garfunkel.

He is credited for being among a handful of trumpeters capable of playing demanding lead trumpet parts while also contributing improvisational solos, making him an in-demand session player for commercials and soundtracks. The Brooklyn native starting playing trumpet at age 10 and studied in the early 1960s at Eastman School of Music and later at Juilliard, where he worked as an adjunct professor in addition to serving as a professor at Manhattan School of Music for 20 years. Soloff died of a heart attack in 2015 at age 71.