Happy Birthday, Little Jazz (Roy Eldridge)

Roy Eldridge is one of my favorite trumpeters, and an important figure in the fight against racial oppression (check out his Wiki page). Here’s one example of Mr. Eldridge in an otherwise all-white band, performing with Anita O’Day and Gene Krupa on drums. (vid should start automagically at 2:03. If it doesn’t slide up there, when the solo starts).

Eldridge put up with a lot of s**t, and had a lot of courage. It wasn’t the musicians he was playing with either, but the larger society. Gene Krupa started a fight over racist rules in a restaurant and spent time in jail for sticking up for what was right. It took a toll, though. Eldridge let the rigors of the road and started his own band.

The man was a musical genius, and one of Dizzy Gillespie’s chief idols. Here’s a great example of the two playing together.

Check him out in his own words. Starts with how he got the nickname, “Little Jazz.” With lots of playing. This is really great!

Check out the tasty solo at 9:22. A powerful double-A



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