Cultural Percussionist

Teddy Edwards Day

Theodore Marcus Edwards (April 26, 1924 – April 20, 2003) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist on the west coast of the U.S.

Edwards was born in Jackson, Mississippi. He learned to play at a very early age, first on alto saxophone and then clarinet.

His uncle sent for him to come to Detroit to live because he felt opportunities were better. Due to illness in the family, he went back to Jackson and ventured to Alexandria, Louisiana. He was persuaded by Ernie Fields to join his band after going to Tampa, Florida. Teddy had planned to go to New York City, but Ernie Fields convinced him he could get there by way of Washington, DC, if he worked with his band. Teddy ended up at the “Club Alabam” on Central Avenue in Los Angeles, which later became his city of residence.

Teddy Edwards played with many jazz notables, including his personal friend Charlie Parker, Roy Milton, Wynonie Harris, Vince Guaraldi, Joe Castroand Ernie Andrews. A classic 1947 recording with Dexter Gordon, The Duel, helped set him up as a legend, a status he liked to maintain by challenging other worthy sax players to similar duels whenever possible, including a recording with Houston Person. One such “memorable” duel took place in the 1980s at London’s 100 Club with British tenor Dick Morrissey.

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