The Full Wiki

Roy Eldridge: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Roy Eldridge

Eldridge at the Village Jazz Lounge in Walt Disney World (photo by Laura Kolb)
Background information
Birth name Roy David Eldridge
Born January 30, 1911(1911-01-30)
Origin Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died February 26, 1989 (aged 78)
Genres Jazz
Big Band
Occupations Trumpeter
Instruments Trumpet
Associated acts Charlie Barnet

Roy David Eldridge (January 30, 1911 – February 26, 1989), nicknamed "Little Jazz" was an American jazz trumpet player. His sophisticated use of harmony, including the use of tritone substitutions, his virtuosic solos and his strong influence on Dizzy Gillespie mark him as one of the most exciting musicians of the swing era and a precursor of bebop.



Eldridge was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and originally played drums, trumpet and tuba. He led bands from his early years, moving to St. Louis, and then to New York. He absorbed the influence of saxophonists Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins, setting himself the task of learning Hawkins 1926 solo on "The Stampede" in developing an equivalent trumpet style.[1]

Eldridge played in various bands in New York in the early 1930s, as well as making records and radio broadcasts under his own name. His rhythmic power to swing a band was a dynamic trademark of the jazz of the time. It has been said that "from the mid-Thirties onwards, he had superseded Louis Armstrong as the exemplar of modern 'hot' trumpet playing".[2]

Eldridge was very versatile on his horn, not only quick and articulate with the low to middle registers, but the high registers as well. The high register lines that Eldridge employed were one of many prominent features of his playing, another being blasts of rapid double time notes followed by a return to standard time. These stylistic points were heavy influences on Dizzy Gillespie, who, along with Charlie Parker, brought bebop into existence. Eldridge participated in some of the early jam sessions at Minton's Playhouse. A careful listening to BeBop standards, such as the song BeBop, will reveal how much Eldridge influenced this genre of Jazz.

In May 1941 Eldridge joined Gene Krupa's Orchestra, and was successfully featured with rookie singer Anita O'Day on a series of recordings including the novelty hit "Let Me Off Uptown". However, Eldridge complained that O'Day was upstaging him and the band broke up after Krupa was jailed for marijuana possession in July 1943.[3] Eldridge then joined Artie Shaw's band.

In the postwar years, he became part of the group which toured under the Jazz at the Philharmonic banner. He became one of the stalwarts of the group. Its producer Norman Granz said that Roy Eldrige typified the spirit of jazz. "Every time he's on he does the best he can, no matter what the conditions are. And Roy is so intense about everything, so that it's far more important to him to dare, to try to achieve a particular peak, even if he falls on his ass in the attempt, than it is to play safe. That's what jazz is all about." [4]

Eldridge moved to Paris for a time, before returning to New York, where he worked with Coleman Hawkins, Ella Fitzgerald and Earl "Fatha" Hines among others. In 1971, Eldridge was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. After a stroke in 1980, he continued performing on other instruments for the remainder of his life.



  1. ^ Lyttelton, Humphrey (1998). The Best of Jazz. Robson Books. ISBN 1-86105-187-5.  , p410
  2. ^ Lyttelton, p414
  3. ^ Anita O'Day with George Eels, High Times, Hard Times, New York, Limelight, 1981, p. 102-123
  4. ^ Obituary Norman Granz, The Independent, 25 November 2001 at retrieved 20 November 2008
  • John Chilton: Roy Eldridge, Little Jazz Giant (Continuum: 2002) ISBN 0-8264-5692-8

External links



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address