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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Harlem Nocturne - Earl Bostic

Earl Bostic (April 25, 1912 – October 28, 1965) was an American jazz and rhythm and blues alto saxophonist and a pioneer of the post-war American Rhythm and Blues style. He had a number of popular hits such as "Flamingo", "Harlem Nocturne", "Temptation", "Sleep", "Special Delivery Stomp" and "Where or When" which all showed off his characteristic growl on the horn. He was a major influence on John Coltrane. Bostic was born April 25, 1912 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He turned professional at age 18 when he joined Terence Holder's 'Twelve Clouds of Joy'. He made his first recording with Lionel Hampton in October 1939, with a.o. Charlie Christian, Clyde Hart and Big Sid Catlett. Before that he performed with Fate Marable on New Orleans riverboats. Bostic graduated from Xavier University in New Orleans. He worked with territory bands as well as Arnett Cobb, Hot Lips Page, Rex Stewart, Don Byas, Charlie Christian, Thelonious Monk, Edgar Hayes, Cab Calloway, and other jazz luminaries. In 1938, and in 1944, Bostic led the house band at Small's Paradise. While playing at Small's Paradise, he doubled on guitar and trumpet. During the early 1940s, he was a well-respected regular at the famous jam sessions held at Minton's Playhouse. He formed his own band in 1945 and made the first recordings under his own name for the Majestic label. He turned to rhythm and blues in the late 1940s. His biggest hits were "Temptation", "Sleep", "Flamingo", "You Go to My Head" and "Cherokee". At various times his band include Keter Betts, Jaki Byard, Benny Carter, John Coltrane, Teddy Edwards, Benny Golson, Blue Mitchell, Tony Scott, Cliff Smalls, Sir Charles Thompson, Stanley Turrentine, Tommy Turrentine and other musicians who rose to prominence, especially in jazz. Bostic's King album entitled Jazz As I Feel It featured Shelly Manne on drums, Joe Pass on guitar and Richard "Groove" Holmes on organ. Bostic recorded A New Sound about one month later, again featuring Holmes and Pass. These recordings allowed Bostic to stretch out beyond the three-minute limit imposed by the 45 RPM format. Bostic was pleased with the sessions, which highlight his total mastery of the blues but they also foreshadowed musical advances that were later evident in the work of John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy. He wrote arrangements for Paul Whiteman, Louis Prima, Lionel Hampton, Gene Krupa, Artie Shaw, Hot Lips Page, Jack Teagarden, Ina Ray Hutton and Alvino Rey. His songwriting hits include "Let Me Off Uptown", performed by Anita O'Day and Roy Eldridge, and "Brooklyn Boogie", which featured Louis Prima and members of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Bostic's signature hit, "Flamingo" was recorded in 1951 and remains a favorite among followers of Carolina Beach Music in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. During the early 1950s Bostic lived with his wife in Addisleigh Park in St. Albans, Queens, in New York City, where many other jazz stars made their home.[3] After that he moved to Los Angeles, where he concentrated on writing arrangements after suffering a heart attack. He opened his own R&B club in Los Angeles, known as the Flying Fox. Bostic died October 28, 1965 from a heart attack in Rochester, New York, while performing with his band in 1965. He was buried in Southern California's Inglewood Park Cemetery on November 2, 1965. Honorary pallbearers at the funeral included Slappy White and Louis Prima. Today he rests not far from other musical luminaries as Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, and Ray Charles. Bostic was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in 1993.

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