Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy Birthday, Roy Eldridge!

Born January 30, 1911: music giant Roy Eldridge, A.K.A. "Little Jazz".

Well, shame on me, I missed the centennial a year ago, but will make up for it with my personal selection of the most blazing LE JAZZ HOT clips.

Roy, A.K.A. Little Jazz was the trumpet ace who followed King Oliver, Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke - and paved the way for Dizzy Gillespie and the next wave in the post-WW2 era.

His style, here in 1937, comes directly from Satchmo and, like Louis, is unrelentingly swinging and quite beautiful.

Roy was, like forward-looking bandmate Coleman Hawkins, the up-and-coming Charlie Parker and pianist-bandleaders Duke Ellington and Mary Lou Williams ("The "Lady Who Swings The Band"), a multi-genre kinda guy - and his trumpet had sass, swing, swagger and joie de vivre to burn.

On that count, relish these two two cuts from the amazing Roy & Diz album. The trumpet derring-do of Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie can't be beat. Neither can the superb backing of Oscar Peterson (piano), Herb Ellis (guitar), Ray Brown (bass) and Louie Bellson (drums).

Here's Roy, blowing the freakin' roof off of Carnegie Hall with fellow trumpeter Charlie Shavers on September 13, 1952. Without a doubt, when jazz got genteel, safe, sanitized and refined, a devastatingly gorgeous pulsating multi-hued light went out in the world.

In his six decade career, Roy tackled New Orleans, Big Band And Small Group Swing, Standards, Blues and Bop with panache, nailed it, hit that music outta the park every time.

Swing swing swing - and swing some more!

This is eternal music.

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