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Slam Stewart

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Biography

Slam Stewart was a superior swing-oriented bassist whose ability to bow the bass and hum an octave apart made him famous in the jazz world. He had thought of the idea while studying at Boston Conservatory when he heard Ray Perry singing along with his violin. In 1936, Stewart was with Peanuts Holland's group and the following year he started playing regularly with guitarist/singer/comedian Slim Gaillard in a group logically dubbed "Slim and Slam." "Flat Foot Floogie" became a huge hit and kept the group working through the early '40s. After leaving Gaillard, Stewart was in great demand. He played with Art Tatum's trio, was featured on records with the Benny Goodman Sextet, Red Norvo (a famous session with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie), and Lester Young (a classic rendition of "Sometimes I'm Happy"), and led his own group which for a period featured the up-and-coming pianist Erroll Garner. Stewart performed a couple of stunning duets with tenor saxophonist Don Byas at a 1945 Town Hall concert and later worked with Billy Taylor, Roy Eldridge, Bucky Pizzarelli, the Newport All-Stars, and a countless number of other jazz greats. He even recorded two albums with bassist Major Holley (who also bowed and hummed but in unison). Up until the end, Slam Stewart occupied his own unique niche in jazz.

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Birth Name:

Leroy Stewart

Born:

21 September 1914 in Englewood, NJ

Genre
Years Active:

'40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Followers

Contemporaries