Education: Ninth grade dropout
Location: Was buried in Pinelawn Memorial Park, Farmingdale, NY
Birth Place: The North Side of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Marital Status: Was married but she died and he followed three weeks after his wife
Birth Date: January 30, 1911
Death Date: February 26, 1989 at age 78
Status & Notes
His mother was a pianist and Eldridge began playing the piano at age five. He says he could play claims blues licks very well even at a young age. When Eldridge was young he looked up to his older brother Joe. Mostly because of Joe musical talents on the violin, alto saxophone, and clarinet. Roy took up the drums at the age of six. He took lessons and played locally. Roy began to play drums in his brother's band, Joe soon convinced him to start playing the trumpet, but Roy wasn’t really interested in it at first. It want until the death of his mother when Roy was eleven that he started to practice more. Roy’s his first major influence on the trumpet was Rex Stewart, who played in a band with young Roy and his brother Joe in Pittsburgh. Roy lacked skill at sight-reading a gap in his musical education that would affect him a lot in his early career. He could replay melodies by ear very well though. Roy first developed his solo style by playing along to recordings of Coleman Hawkins and Benny Carter. Later Roy said that after hearing these musicians "I resolved to play my trumpet like a sax.
I've been in New York for a while I am going be working with Elmer Snowden! Elmer just calling me "Little Jazz" and I’m loving it!
In April 1941, after receiving many offers from white swing bands, Eldridge joined Gene Krupa's Orchestra, and was successfully featured with rookie singer Anita O'Day. By accepting this Roy became one of the first black musicians to become a permanent member of a white big band. Which is actually a big deal. The group covered Jimmy Dorsey's "Green Eyes," and a critic was amazed by Roy so much that he said Roy " lifted the tune to a higher level of intensity". One of Roy's best known recorded solos is on a rendition of Hoagy Carmichael's tune is Rockin' Chair arranged by Benny Carter. Jazz historian Gunther Schuller referred to Roy's solo on "Rockin' Chair" as "a strong and at times tremendously moving performance".
Going to be recording some solos with Teddy Hill this week in New York! Hopefully the “Christopher Columbus” song will be a hit.
Eldridge is frequently grouped among those jazz trumpeters of the '30s and '40s, including Red Allen, Hot Lips Page, Shad Collins, and Rex Stewart Eldridge was also known for his fast style of playing, often executing blasts of rapid double-time notes followed by a return to standard time. His really fast playing style was noted by jazz trumpeter Bill Coleman when Roy was as young as seventeen.Roy was an influential composer but there was also many others. The top five influential composers of the swing era are:
1. Fletcher Henderson
2. Duke Ellington
3. Coleman Hawkins
4. Count Basie
5. Johnny Hodges
Roy is tenth most influential Composer in this genre.
Still in New York and I just finished playing “little Jazz” with Buster Harding on piano for Oscar Peterson new album!