Roy Eldridge: Let Me Off Uptown

27 Feb

Remembering trumpet player Roy Eldridge on the day after his death in 1989.

Nicknamed “Little Jazz,” Eldridge stood only 5-foot-6, but there was a time in the 1940s when he couldn’t have been much bigger. In 1941, after apprenticing with Fletcher Henderson, Eldridge joined drummer Gene Krupa’s band, with singer Anita O’Day (link above). As the only black member of the band, Eldridge suffered from discrimination at the hotels and restaurants and the like which would serve the other members but not him; once, reportedly, Krupa once got into a fight on behalf of Eldridge and was fined.

When Krupa was arrested for marijuana in 1943, Eldridge eventually joined Artie Shaw’s band. In the 1950s he moved to Paris and enjoyed the attention there, played with Benny Goodman, moved back to New York. He suffered a stroke in 1980, and for the rest of his life he performed on other instruments.

He died in 1989 at age 78.

Eldridge is the subject of John Chilton’s book: Roy Eldridge: Little Jazz Giant.

Said trombonist Steve Turre to Pittsburghlive.com:  “. . . there only is one Roy, and that’s Roy Eldridge . . . He is the connection between Pops and Dizzy.”

Next:  Around the World in Music Monday: Canada

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One Response to “Roy Eldridge: Let Me Off Uptown”

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  1. Roy “Little Jazz” Eldridge: Pioneer Trumpeter | Sound the Trumpet: How to Blow Your Own Horn - August 12, 2014

    […] Roy Eldridge: Let Me Off Uptown […]

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