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Harry Edison

Harry Edison

American trumpeter
The basics
Occupations Trumpeter Jazz musician
Countries United States of America
Gender male
Birth October 10, 1915 (Columbus)
Death July 27, 1999 (Columbus)
Authority Discogs id IMDB id ISNI id Library of congress id Musicbrainz id VIAF id
The details

Harry "Sweets" Edison (October 10, 1915 – July 27, 1999) was an American jazz trumpeter and member of the Count Basie Orchestra.


Born in Columbus, Ohio, Edison spent his early childhood in Louisville, Kentucky, where he was introduced to music by an uncle. After moving back to Columbus at the age of twelve, the young Edison began playing the trumpet with local bands.

In 1933, he became a member of the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra in Cleveland. Afterwards he played with the Mills Blue Rhythm Band and Lucky Millinder. In 1937 he moved to New York and joined the Count Basie Orchestra. His colleagues included Buck Clayton, Lester Young (who named him "Sweets"), Buddy Tate, Freddie Green, Jo Jones, and other original members of that famous band. In a 2003 interview for the National Museum of American History, drummer Elvin Jones explained the origin of Edison's nickname: "Sweets had so many lady friends, he was such a handsome man. He had all these girls all over him all the time, that's why they called him Sweets."

"Sweets" Edison came to prominence as a soloist with the Basie Band and as an occasional composer/arranger for the band. He also appeared in the 1944 film Jammin' the Blues.

Having joined the Basie Band in 1937, Edison spent thirteen years with Basie until the band was temporarily disbanded in 1950. Edison thereafter pursued a varied career as leader of his own groups, traveling with Jazz at the Philharmonic and freelancing with other orchestras. In the early 1950s, he settled on the West Coast and became a highly sought-after studio musician, making important contributions to recordings by such artists as Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald. In 1956 he recorded the first of three albums with tenor great Ben Webster.

According to the Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Seventies, Edison in the 1960s and 1970s continued to work in many orchestras on television shows, including Hollywood Palace and The Leslie Uggams Show, specials with Frank Sinatra; prominently featured on the sound track and in the sound track album of the film, Lady Sings the Blues. From 1973 Edison acted as Musical Director for Redd Foxx on theatre dates, at concerts, and in Las Vegas. He appeared frequently in Europe and Japan until shortly before his death. As the Los Angeles Jazz Institute's (LAJI) first Tribute Honoree, "Sweets" will always have a special place in the hearts of jazz fans.

Edison died at his home in Columbus, Ohio at the age of 83.


As leader

  • Buddy and Sweets (Norgran, 1955) with Buddy Rich
  • Pres and Sweets (Norgran, 1955) with Lester Young
  • Sweets (Clef, 1956)
  • Gee, Baby Ain't I Good to You (Verve, 1957) with Ben Webster
  • Jazz Giants '58 (1958) with Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan
  • The Swinger (Verve, 1958)
  • Mr. Swing (Verve, 1958)
  • Sweetenings (Roulette, 1958)
  • Harry Edison Swings Buck Clayton and Vice Versa (Verve, 1958) with Buck Clayton
  • Patented by Edison (Roulette, 1960)
  • Together (Roulette, 1961) with Joe Williams
  • Jawbreakers (Riverside, 1962) with Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis
  • Ben and "Sweets" (with Ben Webster, 1962)
  • The Trumpet Kings Meet Joe Turner (with Big Joe Turner, Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge and Clark Terry, Pablo, 1974)
  • Oscar Peterson and Harry Edison (1974)
  • Oscar Peterson and the Trumpet Kings – Jousts (1974)
  • Edison's Lights (1976)
  • Oscar Peterson + Harry Edison + Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson (1986)

As sideman

With Count Basie
  • The Original American Decca Recordings (GRP, 1937–39 [1992])
  • Memories Ad-Lib (Roulette, 1958)
  • Breakfast Dance and Barbecue (Roulette, 1959)
  • Live at the Sands (Before Frank) (Reprise, 1966 [1998])
  • Hollywood...Basie's Way (Command, 1967)
  • Basie's Beat (Verve, 1967)
  • Basie's in the Bag (Brunswick, 1967)
  • Standing Ovation (Dot, 1969)
With Harry Belafonte
  • An Evening with Belafonte (RCA Victor, 1957)
With Louis Bellson
  • Skin Deep (Norgran, 1953)
  • Drumorama! (Verve, 1957)
  • Music, Romance and Especially Love (Verve, 1957)
  • Louis Bellson at The Flamingo (Verve, 1957)
  • Thunderbird (Impulse!, 1965)
With Bob Brookmeyer and Zoot Sims
  • Stretching Out (United Artists, 1958)
With Ray Bryant
  • Madison Time (Columbia, 1960)
With Hoagy Carmichael
  • Hoagy Sings Carmichael (Pacific Jazz, 1956)
With James Carter
  • Conversin' with the Elders (Atlantic, 1996)
With Dolo Coker
  • Third Down (Xanadu, 1977)
With Nat King Cole
  • After Midnight (Capitol, 1957)
With Clifford Coulter
  • Do It Now! (Impulse!, 1971)
With Bing Crosby and Buddy Bregman
  • Bing Sings Whilst Bregman Swings (Verve, 1956)
With Sammy Davis Jr
  • It's All Over but the Swingin' (Decca, 1957)
With Billy Eckstine
  • Billy's Best! (Mercury, 1958)
With Duke Ellington with Johnny Hodges
  • Side by Side (Verve, 1959)
  • Back to Back (Verve, 1959)
With Herb Ellis
  • Ellis in Wonderland (Verve, 1956)
With Ella Fitzgerald
  • Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook (1956, Verve)
  • Get Happy! (1959, Verve)
  • Hello, Love (1960, Verve)
  • Whisper Not (1967, Verve)
  • 30 by Ella (1968, Capitol)
  • Ella Loves Cole (1972, Capitol)
  • Fine and Mellow (1974, Pablo)
  • All That Jazz (1989, Pablo)
With Gil Fuller
  • Gil Fuller & the Monterey Jazz Festival Orchestra featuring Dizzy Gillespie (Pacific Jazz, 1965)
With Dizzy Gillespie
  • Jazz Recital (Norgran, 1955)
With Jimmy Giuffre
  • The Jimmy Giuffre Clarinet (Atlantic, 1956)
With Woody Herman
  • Songs for Hip Lovers (Verve, 1957)
With Billie Holiday
  • Music for Torching (Norgran, 1955)
  • Velvet Mood (Clef, 1956)
  • Lady Sings the Blues (Clef, 1956)
  • Body and Soul (Verve, 1957)
  • Songs for Distingué Lovers (Verve, 1957)
  • All or Nothing at All (Verve, 1958)
With Milt Jackson
  • Memphis Jackson (Impulse!, 1969)
With Illinois Jacquet
  • Illinois Jacquet and His Orchestra (Verve, 1956)
With Quincy Jones
  • Go West, Man! (ABC, 1957)
  • The Birth of a Band! (Mercury, 1959)
  • Walk, Don't Run (Verve, 1966)
With Barney Kessel
  • To Swing or Not to Swing (Contemporary, 1955)
With Carole King
  • Rhymes & Reasons (A&M 1972)
With B.B. King
  • Live at the Apollo (1991)
With Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich
  • Krupa and Rich (Clef, 1956)
With Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross
  • Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross! (Columbia, 1960)
With Modern Jazz Quartet
  • MJQ & Friends: A 40th Anniversary Celebration (Atlantic, 1994)
With The Pointer Sisters
  • That's a Plenty (Blue Thumb, 1974)
With Buddy Rich
  • The Swinging Buddy Rich (Norgran, 1954)
  • The Wailing Buddy Rich (Norgran, 1955)
  • This One's for Basie (Verve, 1956)
  • Buddy Rich Sings Johnny Mercer (Verve, 1956)
  • Buddy Rich Just Sings (Verve, 1957)
  • Richcraft (Mercury, 1959)
With Shorty Rogers
  • Shorty Rogers Courts the Count (RCA Victor, 1954)
  • Martians Come Back! (Atlantic, 1955 [1956])
  • Way Up There (Atlantic, 1955 [1957])
  • Shorty Rogers Plays Richard Rodgers (RCA Victor, 1957)
With Frank Sinatra and Count Basie
  • It Might as Well Be Swing (Reprise, 1964)
  • Sinatra at the Sands (Reprise, 1966)
With Mel Tormé
  • Mel Tormé Live at the Fujitsu–Concord Festival 1990 (Concord, 1990)
  • Night at the Concord Pavilion (Concord, 1990)
With Sarah Vaughan
  • Dreamy (Roulette, 1960)
  • The Divine One (Roulette, 1961)
With Lester Young
  • Going for Myself (Recorded 1957–1958)
  • Laughin' to Keep from Cryin' (1958)
With Teddy Wilson
  • Teddy Wilson & His All Stars (Chiaroscuro, 1995)
With various artists
  • Jazz at Santa Monica Civic '72 (Pablo, 1973)
  • Jazz at the Philharmonic – Yoyogi National Stadium, Tokyo 1983: Return to Happiness (1983, Pablo)
With Red Holloway
  • Live at the Floating Jazz Festival (Chiaroscuro, 1997)

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