Eddie South – Pardon, Madame!
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Eddie South – Pardon, Madame!

Eddie South – Pardon, Madame!

This performance comes from one of jazz violin scholar Anthony Barnett’s unique compact discs: Eddie South, Tzigane in Rhythm: Solo, Trio & Orchestra: Broadcasts, Film & Fugitive, 1940–1947.

Tzigane in Rhythm
Including unreleased live broadcasts, private recordings with pioneer bebop-inflected pianist Allen Tinney, film soundtrack, unreleased Columbia and a previously unknown releases.
At http://www.abar.net there are details of this and other violin CDs will be found.

Eddie South – violin, bandleader
Born: November 27, 1904 | Died: April 25, 1962

Eddie South born in Louisiana, MO, began his career in the 1920s. Due to his Classical Music training, (from Chicago Music College) he would probably have chosen to be a ‘classical’ musician, but, unfortunately, in those days the color of his skin precluded that option.

Starting in the early 1920s, South worked in such Chicago bands as Jimmy Wade’s Syncopators, the Charlie Elgar Band, and Erskine Tate. In 1928, he traveled to Europe and studied at the Paris Conservatoire de Musique where he was deeply impressed with European music. He was even more impressed with the Gypsy melodies he heard on his visit to Budapest. Later, he would often delightfully weave those gypsy melodies into his jazz improvisations.

Returning to Chicago in 1931, South formed his own band The Alabamians that included the young bassist Milt Hinton. During his 1937 trip to Paris, South recorded with jazz greats Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. However, he worked in relative obscurity for most of his life (mostly in the Chicago area, but also in Los Angeles, CA and New York, NY) known only to true Jazz aficionados.

Some critics feel that his ‘formal’ training caused his playing to be also somewhat ‘formal’ and lacking in a ‘Swing’ feeling. Still, his subtle musical interpretations earned him the sobriquet “The Black Angel of the Violin”.

In later years he recorded for Chess and Mercury, and also made a final set released by Trip. South’s other early recordings (covering 1927-41) have been reissued on a pair of Classics CDs. One of the top violinists of the pre-bop era South was a brilliant technician who, were it not for the universal racism of the time, would probably have been a top classical violinist. (As much as I like him, he wasn’t really on the level of the better classical violinists of his time. – Doug (2ndviolinist))

Eddie South died on Apr. 25, 1962 in Chicago, Illinois.

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