|Birth name||George Sylvester Callender|
March 6, 1916|
|Died||March 8, 1992
|Instruments||Double bass, tuba|
George Sylvester "Red" Callender (March 6, 1916 – March 8, 1992) was a jazz bass and tuba player.
Callender was born in Haynesville, Virginia. In the early 1940s, he played in the Lester and Lee Young band, and then formed his own trio. In the 1940s Callender recorded with Nat King Cole, Erroll Garner, Charlie Parker, Wardell Gray, Dexter Gordon, Uffe Baadh [Frank Bode] and many others. After a period spent leading a trio in Hawaii, Callender returned to Los Angeles, becoming one of the first black musicians to work regularly in the commercial studios, including backing singer Linda Hayes on two singles. He made his recording debut at 19 with Louis Armstrong's band. However, he later turned down offers to work with Duke Ellington's Orchestra and the Louis Armstrong All-Stars.
On his 1954 Crown LP Speaks Low, Callender was one of the earliest modern jazz tuba soloists. Keeping busy up until his death, some of the highlights of the bassist's later career include recording with Art Tatum and Jo Jones (1955–1956) for the Tatum Group, playing with Charles Mingus at the 1964 Monterey Jazz Festival, working with James Newton's avant-garde woodwind quintet (on tuba), and performing as a regular member of the Cheatham's Sweet Baby Blues Band. He also reached the top of the British pop charts as a member of B. Bumble and the Stingers. He died of thyroid cancer at his home in Saugus, California.
Red's autobiography, Unfinished Dream: The Musical World of Red Callender, co-authored by Elaine Cohen was published by Quartet Books of London in 1985. The book includes a forward by Stanley Dance, 16 pages of photographs and a lengthy selected discography.
- 1956: Swingin' Suite (Modern)
- 1957: Red Callender Speaks Low (Crown Records)
- 1958: The Lowest (MetroJazz Records)
- 1973: Basin Street Brass (Legend)
- 1984: Night Mist Blues (Hemisphere)
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With John Carter
- Dauwhe (Black Saint, 1982)
With Maynard Ferguson
- Maynard Ferguson Octet (EmArcy, 1955)
With Dizzy Gillespie
- The New Continent (Limelight, 1962)
With B.B. King
With Judy Carmichael 'Pearls' Jazzology JCD-204, 1985
- "Red Callender; Jazz Bass Player and Tuba Virtuoso," obituary, Los Angeles Times, March 10, 1992
- "Red Callender Dies; Jazz Bassist Was 76". The New York Times. 11 March 1992.
Unfinished Dream: The Musical World of Red Callendar by Red Callendar and Elaine Cohen, Quartet Books, 1985