William "Cat" Anderson was a premiere high note trumpeter, having
a range of over five octaves. He joined Ellington in 1944 (at the age
of twenty-eight) and (with the exception of a few, short intervals)
stayed with him until 1971.
Ellington, always on the lookout for distinctive sounds, used Anderson's screamingly high trumpet acrobatics to sensational effect on several numbers, including "El Gato," "Trumpet No End," and "Jam with Sam."
Born and raised in an orphanage in South Carolina, Anderson was a man of unyieldingly high standards and strong work ethic. In addition to his crowd pleasing high note specialties, he also played with a rich tone in the middle register, improvising with an imagination influenced by Louis Armstrong.