Video: Teddy Edwards, 1962

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Teddy Edwards
In the tenor sax pantheon, there's Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane. But then there are dozens of smaller giants who were solid, fluid, soulful players, including Wardell Gray, Zoot Sims, Stan Getz, Harold Land, Hank Mobley, Eddie “Lockjaw" Davis, Frank Wess and Sonny Stitt. Often forgotten today is Teddy Edwards, who was born in Mississippi, moved to Detroit and wound up in Los Angeles in the 1940s and remained there for much of his career. Edwards died in 2003.

In 1947, Edwards recorded The Duel with Dexter Gordon, a tenor battle that established him as a West Coast bebop force. He also was on the scene in L.A. in 1954 when he joined Clifford Brown and Max Roach in concert at the California Club, where Edwards first recorded his best-known composition, Sunset Eyes. Edwards recorded sparingly in the mid-1950s but became a busy sideman on the Contemporary and Pacific Jazz labels in the years that followed.

In 1962, Edwards formed a terrific working hard-bop sextet, which appeared on Oscar Brown Jr.'s TV show, Jazz Scene USA. Here's a rare Edwards video with his knockout group, which unfortunately never recorded. A big thanks to Jimi Mentis in Athens...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved.

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