Slam Stewart

Slam Stewart was a great swing-oriented bassist. His ability to bow the instrument and hum an octave apart made his name in jazz. The idea was born out of his experience at Boston Conservatory, when he saw Ray Perry playing along with his violin. In 1936, Stewart was with Peanuts Holland’s group and the following year he started playing regularly with guitarist/singer/comedian Slim Gaillard in a group logically dubbed “Slim and Slam.” The group continued to thrive through the ’40s thanks to “Flat Foot Floogie”, which was a huge success. Stewart was very popular after leaving Gaillard. Stewart was a member of Art Tatum’s trio and featured on records with Red Norvo, the Benny Goodman Sextet and Red Norvo (a famous session featuring Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gilespie), Lester Young (“Sometimes I’m happy”) and his own group, which featured Erroll Garner, a young pianist. Stewart performed some stunning duets with Don Byas, tenor saxophonist, at a 1945 Town Hall concert. He also worked later with Roy Eldridge and Bucky Pizzarelli as well as many other jazz greats such as Billy Taylor, Bucky Piarelli, Roy Eldridge, and the Newport All-Stars. Two albums were recorded by Stewart with Major Holley, who also hummed and bowed in unison. Slam Stewart was a jazz musician who occupied his unique place in jazz until the end. Allmusic

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