Trumpeter Roy Eldridge was born on this day (January 30), in 1917 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the lineage of jazz trumpet, he was a crucial link between the Dixieland-oriented playing of Louis Armstrong and the lightning-fast bebop style of Dizzy Gillespie. Though he lacked the ability to sight-read music, he had an incredible ear for melody, and his improvisations often merged looping, shapely melodic cells with linear, zig-zagging bop lines. Here, he takes on the Irving Berlin classic “The Song Is Ended (But the Melody Lingers On).” Wandering along the song’s gently curved terrain, he treads lightly and playfully, throwing off the occasional spark along the way.
Feature image: Roy Eldridge, Spotlite (Club), New York, N.Y., ca. Nov. 1946/Library of Congress/Gottlieb, William P.)