Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Harry "Sweets" Edison got the most mileage out of a single note, like his former boss Count Basie. Edison, immediately recognizable within a note or two, long used repetition and simplicity to his advantage while always swinging. He played in local bands in Columbus and then in 1933 joined the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra. After a couple years in St. Louis, Edison moved to New York where he joined Lucky Millinder and then in June 1938, Count Basie, remaining with that classic orchestra until it broke up in 1950. During that period, he was featured on many records, appeared in the 1944 short Jammin' the Blues and gained his nickname "Sweets" (due to his tone) from Lester Young. In the 1950s, Edison toured with Jazz at the Philharmonic, settled in Los Angeles, and was well-featured both as a studio musician (most noticeably on Frank Sinatra records) and on jazz dates. He had several reunions with Count Basie in the 1960s and by the '70s was often teamed with Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis; Edison also recorded an excellent duet album for Pablo with Oscar Peterson. One of the few swing trumpeters to be influenced by Dizzy Gillespie, Sweets led sessions through the years for Pacific Jazz, Verve, Roulette, Riverside, Vee-Jay, Liberty, Sue, Black & Blue, Pablo, Storyville, and Candid among others. Although his playing faded during the 1980s and '90s, Edison could still say more with one note than nearly anyone; he died July 27, 1999, at age 83.