Hugh Ragin inspiring teacher, creative composer and trumpet virtuoso, has been named "a trumpeter with very few peers in terms of imagination or technical command" by jazz biographer Francis Davis in his notes for the "Live At The Knitting Factory" recording with Roscoe Mitchell. Ragin has also collaborated with musicians such as David Murray, Anthony Braxton, Dizzy Gillespie, Spencer Barefield, Fred Wesley, Leo Smith, Sun Ra, Maynard Ferguson, D.D. Jackson, Andrew Cyrille and poet Amiri Baraka, on both recorded and live jazz performances that range from bebop and freebop to the most "out" of avant-garde improvising.
His compositions have been recorded by David Murray, Roscoe Mitchell, D.D. Jackson and Fred Wesley, and yet despite his success as a performer and composer, Ragin insists on "being an educator first." His life has formed as a compassionate gesture "to share the knowledge, and bring more people into music." For all areas of his teaching, Ragin puts a strong emphasis on the fundamentals. "I like to give enough material so that students can absorb what's useful, disregard what is unnecessary, and add what is uniquely their own." says Ragin. It is like Charlie Parker said, "first you learn the scales, then you forget them."
Drawing from personal experience, Ragin also says, "technique includes the knowledge of the instrument as well as knowledge of the language." He attributes his astounding control of the trumpet to studying the basics.