Trumpet Characters

Trumpet Character List

Joss Moody

Joss is a famous, black trumpet player, who dedicates his entire life to being a jazz musician. Joss was born Josephine Moody, but discovered at a young age that he was transgender, and wanted to be a man. As Josephine grew up in the 1960’s, he could only dress as a man, and keep it all a secret. He is a very intense and passionate man, and his wife cannot help but fall in love with him. Joss is portrayed as extremely dedicated to his music, often at the Jazz club, either playing himself or supporting his fellow musicians. He is an especially strict Father to his son, Coleman, which leads to resentment after his death.

Millie Moody

Millie is Joss’ wife, and has known about him being transgender since before they were married. She cares little, and loves Joss for who is he, rather than basing a love entirely on the restrictions of gender. It is especially poignant that during intercourse scenes, Kay does not specify male and female bodies, but more two beings coming together. She is utterly devastated when Joss dies, having nursed him through his final days. She must cope with all the questions and judgement that arise when the coroner discovers that Joss is biologically female, not male. Millie is perhaps the character it is most easy to feel compassion for, as it is evident she is truly heartbroken, trying to keep an outward composure for the sake of her son.

Colman Moody

Colman Moody is Joss and Millie’s adopted son. Colman finds it especially hard to accept that his Father was female. He finds this out when he is thirty, and feels resentment towards his late Father, who was always strict with him, as it affects his own sexuality. As a child, Colman was naughty and difficult to deal with, and a child-like vulnerability begins to emerge in Kay’s novel. He is both confused and angry with Joss, and feels like he must prove his own masculinity by having sexual intercourse with the journalist, Sophie Stones, of whom he also plans to sell his story to. However, in the end, Colman learns to accept his Father’s decision and to stop thinking of it as a lie, deciding not to sell the story and cheapen his Father’s memory.

Sophie Stones

Sophie Stones is a journalist, who is struggling to make it big as a journalist to compete with her successful sister. The reader initially feels a large resentment towards Sophie, as she harasses both Millie and Colman when they are grieving for the sake of a story that will ensure her own success. She is revealed as less professional when she goes to bed with Colman, and slowly seems to unravel as a character. The reader can also witness her inner thoughts of her own inadequacy as a journalist, offering some form of empathy.

Edith Moore

Edith is Joss’ Mother, of whom has not seen Joss for a long time. She is introduced when Colman goes to visit her for the first time, for some answers as to Joss’ transformation from Josephine. Edith is in an alms house, and surrounded by many old people. However, she is seen as constantly trying to retain her independence, and not relying on others to help her in her old age.

The doctor

The doctor is a minor, but pivotal, character. Once Joss dies in their home, Millie calls the doctor to write a death certificate. The doctor examines the body, and is the first apart from Millie to find out Joss is biologically female.

The registrar

The registrar is one of the first people Millie comes in to contact with after Joss’ death. He reads the doctor’s report, and also discovers that Joss is actually Josephine. Despite Millie asking him not to, he crosses out ‘male’ on the death certificate’, and replaces it with ‘female’ in large red pen, a crude way of revealing Joss’ secret to the world.

The funeral director

The funeral director prepares Joss’ body for burial, preparing the whole body with oils and then dressing him. When the funeral director undresses Joss, he is expecting male genitals to be in between his legs, and is shocked when he discovers that there is none. This character is also pivotal to Colman’s side of the story, as he is the one who tells Joss’ son his Father's true biological sex.

Big Red McCall

Big Red McCall is a broad, tough man who used to play the drums for Joss whilst he played the trumpet. Despite looking like a skinhead, Big Red is extremely gentle and understanding. He offers his condolences to Millie. The discovery that Joss was a woman makes no difference to Big Red, and he focuses on Joss’ passion and talent as a musician, not a gendered person.

Maggie

Maggie used to be the Moody’s housekeeper. She is portrayed as a lovely and well-meaning woman, and praises all the Moodys highly. When she is approached by Sophie Stones, she is unsure what to say. She too, is unbothered that Joss was a woman. Everything that she does say, Sophie twists.

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