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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

EDGAR'S BOOGIE - Edgar Hayes' Stardusters

Pianist and bandleader Edgar Hayes is best remembered today for his 1938 version of Hoagy Carmichael's ''Stardust,'' the only hit song for Hayes. The recording features his light, tinkling piano style and is still today considered to be the definitive version of that number.

Hayes attended college at both Fisk University in Nashville and Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio, where he earned a bachelor's degree in music. After graduation he made his professional debut with Fess Williams and in 1924 formed his own group, the Blue Grass Buddies. In early 1925 he went to work with the Lois B. Deppe Orchestra and late in the year led his own orchestra at the Ritz Hotel in Cleveland. In 1926 he played with Madison's Commodore Orchestra in Buffalo and in the spring of 1927 led his own Eight Black Pirates for the touring show Rarin' to Go. From late 1927 to 1930 Hayes led a group called the Symphonic Harmonists.

In 1931 Hayes joined the Mills Blue Ribbon Band and stayed until 1937, when he left and formed a new orchestra of his own. The new group featured many ex-Mills Blue Ribbon Band members and included, at various times, Joe Garland on tenor sax, Kenny Clarke on drums, and Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet. The orchestra recorded on Decca. After its 1938 success with ''Stardust'' Hayes took the band on a tour of Sweden and Belgium, where they also recorded on the Swedish Odeon label.

Failing to achieve another hit record after ''Stardust,'' Hayes disbanded his orchestra in 1941 and moved to California. There he formed a quartet called the Stardusters which played regularly on the West Coast until the early 1950s. Hayes continued to perform, mainly as a solo lounge act through the 1950s and 1960s. Edgar Hayes passed away in 1979.
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