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Harry "Sweets" Edison (b. 10 October 1915 or 1919 (see below), d. 26 July 1999) was one of the great jazz trumpeters of the swing era. His style, like that of his longtime bandleader, Count Basie, was to treat each note he played like a precious gem, putting it right where it belonged. This style realizes that the space between notes is just as important as the notes themselves. The result is a tremendous swinging feeling. Edison's tone was also what many call "sweet" and also "fat" - eschewing the clarion classical tone for a unique big-ass, brassy, round tone which doesn't resonate so much as land in your lap, gently. His solos often prefer the lower registers of the trumpet, in contrast to the trend of trumpeters before and after him.

Edison never knew his father, who he thought was a native American, possibly Hopi, and his mother didn't note down his date of birth. While most reference guides put his birthdate at 10 October 1915, Harry claimed it was closer to 1919. In either case he was born in Columbus, Ohio, where he later died on 26 July 1999. He picked up a trumpet at age 12 (?) and gigged around the midwest until 1933 the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1938 he would find a home with Count Basie's Orchestra, playing with them until 1950 when the orchestra disbanded. During this time Lester Young started calling Edison "Sweets", due to his sound and style of playing.

One of Edison's specialties was accompanying vocalists, most notably Billie Holiday. In my mind, accompaniment is harder than soloing because one has to improvise in the spaces left by the singer in a way which complements the vocalist without distracting from his/her performance. Aside from Lester Young, Harry "Sweets" Edison is the best in my mind.

After the Basie Big Band, Edison played with Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Nelson Riddle, Jazz at the Philharmonic, Oscar Peterson, Henry Mancini, Quincy Jones, and Buddy Rich. One notable partner was tenor sax player Eddie "Lockjaw" Davies with whom Edison played frequently in the 1970's. Edison's playing declined but didn't stop in the 1980's and 1990's. He taught music at Yale University and was honored with a National Endowment for the Arts Award in 1990.

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