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date: 18 January 2020

Edison, Harry (“Sweets”)locked

  • Edward Berger

Extract

(“Sweets”)

(b Columbus, OH, Oct 10, 1915; d Columbus, July 27, 1999). American jazz trumpeter. He spent his early childhood in Kentucky, where he was introduced to music by an uncle. At the age of 12 he moved back to Columbus where he began to play trumpet in local bands. In 1933 he joined the Jeter–Pillars band in Cleveland, and after a year moved with that group to St. Louis, where he spent the next two years. In 1937 he joined Lucky Millinder in New York, and six months later moved to the Count Basie Orchestra. The saxophonist Lester Young gave him the nickname Sweets. Edison became an important soloist with Basie and occasionally composed and arranged for him. Basie’s orchestra disbanded in 1950, and Edison pursued a varied career, leading his own groups, traveling with Jazz at the Philharmonic, and working freelance with other orchestras. In the early 1950s he settled on the West Coast where he became a sought-after studio musician. He also worked with Buddy Rich and toured with Frank Sinatra. He regularly led his own group in Los Angeles in the 1960s and rejoined Count Basie on several occasions. In the 1970s and early 1980s he traveled extensively, often with the saxophonist Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis. Edison’s playing reflected the directness and full tone of his original inspiration, Louis Armstrong. A highly original soloist, he preferred the middle register and employed a personal, spare, and often humorous style. He was noted for his perfect sense of timing and his manner of repeating a single note or phrase over several measures....

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The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2/2002)
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