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Teddy Edwards: Smooth Sailing

Tenorist Teddy Edwards, who died April 20, was a pioneer of West Coast modern jazz, having joined early bebop trumpeter Howard McGhee as early as 1945. Over the years, he has served with many other important groups, including the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet and the Lighthouse All-Stars, to mention just a couple, as well as leading his own bands, and has been regarded as one of the premier exponents of his instrument. Edwards’ Smooth Sailing (HighNote), recorded a few months before his 78th birthday, shows that his buoyant sense of swing and tender way with a ballad remain intact. Not surprising for a man of his age, his intonation is occasionally insecure on the longer tones of such slow tunes as “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” and “It’s the Talk of the Town,” but that aside, these eight performances are remarkable for someone of his years. He romps through such swingers as his own “Going Home” and Sir Charles Thompson’s classic “Robbin’s Nest” like a youngster, obviously inspired by the fine rhythm section of pianist Richard Wyands, bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Chip White.

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