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In memoriam / The Jazztube
Herb Ellis overleden


Herb Ellis, 88, a jazz guitar virtuoso who swung hard behind such jazz luminaries as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Stan Getz and was a member of the celebrated Oscar Peterson Trio in the 1950s, died March 28 at his home in Los Angeles. He had Alzheimer's disease. His last performance was in 2000.

In a career that spanned six decades, the Texas-born Ellis was regarded as one of the finest jazz guitar soloists. Innovative guitarist Les Paul paid him the compliment: "If you're not swinging, he's gonna make you swing."

After an early stint with the Jimmy Dorsey big band, Ellis formed the Soft Winds trio in 1947 with two Dorsey colleagues, pianist Lou Carter and bassist Johnny Frigo. The trio was not a major commercial success during its five-year existence, but the group recorded many songs and developed a fine reputation in later years among aficionados. The members co-wrote 'Detour Ahead' and 'I Told Ya I Love Ya, Now Get Out', both of which have been widely performed by other artists.

Peterson, who often sat in with the Soft Winds, recruited Ellis as a replacement for guitarist Barney Kessel in 1953. Ellis was an ideal accompanist for Peterson, supplementing the often flamboyant playing of the pianist with precise, uncluttered chord work and economical but swinging solos. They were joined by bassist Ray Brown.

The Peterson trio also served as the house band for Norman Granz's Verve record label and on Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts, accompanying Fitzgerald and such instrumentalists as Dizzy Gillespie, Ben Webster and Roy Eldridge. Ellis also recorded on the side and made some astonishingly good records, among them 'Nothing But The Blues' (1957), featuring Brown, saxophonist Stan Getz and trumpeter Eldridge.

Ellis wearied of the constant road work with Peterson and left the group in 1958. After a couple of tours with singers Fitzgerald and Julie London, Ellis settled into a career as a studio musician, including stints in the television bands for the Steve Allen, Merv Griffin and Regis Philbin shows. He also recorded as a leader for Verve and Columbia in this period as a leader.

By the 1970s, Ellis had become a touring musician again, following a series of recordings for the Concord label. These included pairings with guitarists Joe Pass and Laurindo Almeida and a trio with bassist Brown and Jamaican pianist Monty Alexander.

The Great Guitars, with Ellis, Kessel, Charlie Byrd, bassist Joe Byrd and drummer Chuck Redd - the not-so-humble name came from an Australian promoter - became mainstays of the jazz circuit and performed several times at Charlie Byrd's club Charlie's of Georgetown in the District and the King of France Tavern in Annapolis.

Bron: The Washington Post

Meer zien? Bekijk de Jazztube!
In de bovenstaande Jazztube zien we The Great Guitars in actie. De drie gitaristen (van links naar rechts) Charlie Byrd, Tal Farlow en Herb Ellis spelen hier 'Air Mail Special'. Klik op de afbeelding om de Jazztube te starten.

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