Earl Bostic

Eugene Earl Bostic (April 25, 1913 – October 28, 1965) was an American jazz alto saxophonist and a pioneer of the post-war American rhythm and blues style. He had a number of popular hits such as “Flamingo”, “Harlem Nocturne“, “Temptation”, “Sleep”, “Special Delivery Stomp”, and “Where or When“, which all showed off his characteristic growl on the horn. He was a major influence on John Coltrane.

Bostic was born in 1913 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He turned professional at the age of 18 when he joined Terence Holder’s “Twelve Clouds of Joy”. Bostic made his first recording with Lionel Hampton in October 1939, with Charlie Christian, Clyde Hart and Big Sid Catlett. Before that, he performed with Fate Marable on New Orleans riverboats. Bostic graduated from Xavier University in New Orleans. He worked with territory bands as well as Arnett Cobb, Hot Lips Page, Rex Stewart, Don Byas, Charlie Christian, Thelonious Monk, Edgar Hayes, Cab Calloway, and other jazz luminaries. In 1938, and in 1944, Bostic led the house band at Smalls Paradise. While playing at Small’s Paradise, he doubled on guitar and trumpet. During the early 1940s, he was a well-respected regular at the famous jam sessions held at Minton’s Playhouse. He formed his own band in 1945 and made the first recordings under his own name for the Majestic label. He turned to rhythm and blues in the late 1940s. His biggest hits were “Temptation“, “Sleep”, “Flamingo“.

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