Ward Pinkett (April 29, 1906—March 15, 1937) was an American jazz trumpeter remembered for playing two notable solos in recordings by jazz pianist and bandleader Jelly Roll Morton. His promising musical career was cut short by alcoholism and illness.
The son of an amateur cornet player, Ward Pinkett started playing the trumpet when he was ten years old. He played in the school band at Hampton Institute and later attended the New Haven Conservatory of Music.
After working with the White Brothers Orchestra in Washington D.C., Pinkett moved to New York City. He played for brief periods with the bands of Charlie Johnson, Willie Gant, Billy Fowler, Henri Saparo, Joe Steele and Charlie Skeete. During his stint with Jelly Roll Morton in 1928–30, he participated in seven of Morton's recording sessions and his solos on "Strokin' Away" and "Low Gravy" (both recorded on July 14, 1930) are considered by music historians to be the best of his career. He also worked with Chick Webb, Bingie Madison, Rex Stewart (1933) and Teddy Hill, but was never able to achieve fame. In 1935 he teamed with Albert Nicholas and Bernard Addison at Adrian Rollini's Tap Room and also had a short stint with Louis Metcalf's Big Band. In addition to the Jelly Roll Morton recordings, he recorded with King Oliver, Bubber Miley, Clarence Williams, James P. Johnson and the Little Ramblers.
Tom Morris, Ward Pinkett t / Geechie Fields tb / Ernest Elliott cl, as, bar / Happy Caldwell cl, ts / Marlowe Morris p / ? Lee Blair bj / Bill Benford bb.
Recorded in New York on July 13, 1926.