Roy Eldridge, Little Jazz Giant (Bayou Jazz Lives)

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9780826456922: Roy Eldridge, Little Jazz Giant (Bayou Jazz Lives)

Roy Eldridge, Little Jazz Giant is the first biography of the spectacular trumpeter, Roy "Little Jazz" Eldridge, whose style is universally recognised as the all-important link between the playing styles of Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie. Roy's daring harmonic approach and his technically awesome improvisations provided inspiration for countless jazz musicians. But he was also a star performer in his own right, whose exciting recordings gained him an international reputation. Eldridge's improvisations in the extreme high register always added a thrilling edge to his solos and his perpetually competitive attitude towards other trumpeters gained him a special place in the hearts of jazz lovers. From the late 1940s through the 1970s, he continued to develop his worldwide reputation by playing an important part in the famous Jazz at the Philharmonic tours, all the while adding to his impassioned recorded performances.John Chilton, who knew Eldridge for many years, sheds new light on the various occasions when Eldridge unwillingly became entangled with gangsters in New York and Chicago. There are revealing details about Eldridge's uneven working relationships with Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson, Ella Fitzgerald, and Count Basie.

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About the Author:

John Chilton divides his time between being a professional jazz trumpeter and writing books on jazz. In 2000 he won the British Jazz Award for Writer of the Year. His books include Billie's Blues (on Billie Holiday), The Wizard of Jazz (on Sidney Bechet), and Let the Good Times Roll (on Louis Jordan). Both his Who's Who of Jazz (Storyville to Swing Street) and his Who's Who of British Jazz have been hailed as the best reference works of their kind. Down Beat magazine calls Chilton "a master of the craft of research."

From Publishers Weekly:

Sixty years ago, Roy Eldridge possessed one of the hottest chops in jazz. A fast and daring soloist, his trademark move was flitting all over the horn's upper register like an acrobat. And though he played on some key swing records such as "After You've Gone" and "Rockin' Chair," both with Gene Krupa's Orchestra his true forte was playing live. In this first biography of "Little Jazz" Eldridge, Chilton reminds readers that the risk-taking Eldridge inspired a young Dizzy Gillespie to create the revolutionary style called bop. Yet Eldridge never dug the modern sound, and from the late 1940s until his death in 1985 his playing was increasingly old hat. Unfortunately, Chilton's narrative isn't the classic tale of a self-made man going from obscurity to fame and, painfully, back to obscurity. Instead, it's a dull run through Eldridge's many performances and recordings, from his start with traveling carnival and circus bands to his last days at Ryan's Club in New York. Chilton does find some great quotes underscoring Eldridge's skill: e.g., Louis Armstrong: "And there's no use wondering how high Roy can go on his trumpet, because he can go higher than that." But the author ignores Eldridge's private personae, thus never really bringing him to life. On his childhood, Chilton writes, "There was no question of a cruel stepmother making Roy's life a misery," and leaves it at that. Late in the book readers learn that Eldridge's wife and daughter were the "central figures" of his life, yet Chilton only introduces them a few times in passing.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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