I was curious to read your comment as I feel that Eldridge was a precursor to what happened to jazz trumpet in the early forties when Dizzy Gillespie emerged from under his influence to be a leading figure in Be-bop. Jazz history has tended to suggest that it was through the saxophone and piano that the soloists started to get more "Modern" but it is worth while remembering that the likes of Eldridge very much represented the avant garde of his horn during his 1930's heyday. Whilst Hawkins, Tatum, Young or Carter might be singled out as "progressive" in their time, I think they had an equivalent to a degree in Eldridge - at least when he curbed the more indulgent elements of his playing such as the excessive high register work which sounds a boring to my ears as the pointless tenor-chasing bebop records. There are other players of this ilk like the now little - remembered Peanuts Holland and Charlie Shavers who played in this same spirited style which marked the point at which trumpeters started to look beyond Armstrong as an influence. This fleeter style of laying definately pointed the way forward for the instrument in the following decade.
Personally, I enjoy hearing trumpet players who have a bit of character in their playing and find the the "Cool" school of playing which frowned upon the imaginative use of timbre definately lost a lot of character and some of the "earthy" jazz flavour in their work. Taken to it's naural conclusion, you end up at some of the more annodine style of trumpet that crops up on some ECM records where the sound is almost reduced to a whispiness. The best jazz trumpet playing either has the stature and majesty of someone like Armstrong and his disciples such as Berigan or Clayton or the individual colour of the likes of the Ellingtonians, Miles, Dizzy, Lester Bowie or Dave Douglas. Of the "purer" tone players, I suppose Tom Harrell appeals to be most of all (for his unique sense of harmony) as well as some Bix but if you want a "hot" solo within the framework of a swing band, for me Eldridge is only matched by the brilliant Harry "Sweets " Edison.
Although it is Abram's - and perhaps your view that "Dizzy emerged from under the influence" of Eldridge, I've written at length in my book on Dizzy that it's more complex than that. Dizzy described it as evolution, which is perhaps more accurate. I see Jabbo and Red Allen as influences on Diz (both of them players who looked beyond Armstrong in the 20s), and I make the point that Diz learned Eldridge's style at second hand from Charlie Shavers and Bama Warwick (all painstakingly documented). Jabbo remained - in my view - a more avant garde, surprising and exciting player than Eldridge in much of his (Roy's) early recorded work, and Allen remained startling right through to the 60s. Roy had the ability to excite, but seldom to startle, as Dizzy had. Both Red and Jabbo remained able to startle right up to old age.
there are lacunae in my education innit ...Jabbo
..one cool dude in '38
He was a lovely man. Hung out with him and Don Cherry at the Vanguard, when he was playing in a quintet with Don, Kirk Lightsey, Ed Blackwell, and I can't remember the bass player. But he was on fine form when he played at the Pizza Express in London - I guess this was around 1978. I took a rather atmospheric shot which is posted on my site, because that night Peter Ind was on bass rather than me. Rest of the band: Stan Greig piano, Norman Emberson (soon to be featured in my Buck Clayton Legacy Band) on drums, and Sammy Rimington on clarinet and alto. here's the link:http://www.alynshipton.co.uk/2011/03/jabbo/