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Little Jazz Giant

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Album Review

A three-disc box set from England's Avid Records, Little Jazz Giant tracks trumpeter Roy Eldridge's career from his early work as part of the Delta Four in 1935 through his own efforts to front a swing combo in the late '30s, his work with bandleaders Teddy Hill and Fletcher Henderson, his brilliant early-'40s sides with Gene Krupa, his profitable stay with Artie Shaw, his uncertain position with the modern bop community, and finally, four concluding tracks with Oscar Peterson. In retrospect, it's interesting how many of the most striking cuts here were actually written by Eldridge, including "That Thing," "The Gasser," "Fish Market," "Wild Driver," "Yard Dog," and "They Raided the Joint," each of which has a perceptible modernist edge. Pound for pound, Eldridge was one of the finest upper-range trumpet players jazz has ever produced, and this set has countless examples of his jet-propelled solos (check out his lightning-fast solos in the version of "St. Louis Blues" that is included here). Avid has released each of the discs from this set as single packages as well, entitled The Gasser (1935-1946), Wild Driver (1944-1950), and The Heat's On (1951-1952).

Biography

Born: 30 January 1911 in Pittsburgh, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

One of the most exciting trumpeters to emerge during the swing era, Roy Eldridge's combative approach, chance-taking style and strong musicianship were an inspiration (and an influence) to the next musical generation, most notably Dizzy Gillespie. Although he...
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