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Eddie Locke

A superior swing drummer, Eddie Locke, during his long career, has played with many of the immortals, giving them solid and swinging support. Born in Detroit in 1930, he began playing the drums when he was 6 or 7, often using a homemade drum kit until years his mother could afford to get him a real drum set. He was largely self-taught and began working early on. A friend of fellow drummer Oliver Jackson, they formed an act called Bop and Lock in which they both sang, danced and played drums. After two years of rehearsing and a gig in Detroit, they were booked at New York’s Apollo Theatre in 1954. Although they went over well, swing was out of style and they nearly went broke. But drummer Jo Jones gave him a place to stay and Locke was soon working at the Metropole, playing with everyone from Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins to Roy Eldridge and Coleman Hawkins. His association with Hawkins lasted throughout the 1960s and with Eldridge until the end of his playing career in the late 1970s. Locke was the house drummer at Ryan’s for 15 years until the early 1980s. Along the way he worked with Willie “The Lion” Smith, Ray Bryant, Henry “Red” Allen, Teddy Wilson, Kenny Burrell, Lee Konitz and Earl Hines, and performed with television orchestras. As he nears 80, Eddie Locke still performs regularly and tours Europe often, keeping the legacy of swing drumming alive.