A gifted trumpeter from the start, Larkins' early career in the 1930s included time playing in a band led by Chester Boone. Leading his own band between 1936 and 1943, their touring included the Southwest, Kansas City, The Apollo Theater in New York City, and 9 months in Chicago at the 'Rhumboogie Cafe', where they would back fellow Texan, guitar great T-Bone Walker. His band included Arnett Cobb and Eddie Vinson, who had been members since its 1936 inception in Houston. They were well regarded but never recorded, partly because Larkin refused the low recording fees offered to black musicians. In the army between 1943 and 1946, he played in Sy Olivers' Army Band playing trombone.
In 1946 after leaving the service he was recorded with a number of ensembles. moving to New York in 1956 before retiring to Houston in 1970. From 1979 to 1994, Milt Larkin was the leader of the Milt Larkin Allstars and the founder of Get Involved Now, a non-profit group that served inhouse audiences in Houston, Texas. He did hundreds of performances for crippled and burned children, special needs children, mentally ill patients and elderly audiences. He was the recipient of the Jefferson Award for community service and performed regularly on the Annual Houston Jazz Festival and the Annual Juneteenth Blues Festival in Houston. Milt Larkin was featured in a documentary which was produced and aired on PBS called The Bigfoot Swing. Although he suffered from Alzheimer's disease in the last few years of his life, he performed flawlessly at the Milt Larkin birthday bash on October 10, 1994 for his 84th birthday.
His funeral was attended by many friends and politicians, as well as the press; and his survivors include his son, trumpeter Milton "Tippy" Larkin,.
[born]: October 10, 1910, Navasota, Texas, USA
[died]: August 31, 1996 (pneumonia)