Eddie Durham

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Eddie Durham
Birth nameEdward Durham
Born(1906-08-19)August 19, 1906
San Marcos, Texas, U.S.
DiedMarch 6, 1987(1987-03-06) (aged 80)
New York City
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, arranger
Instrument(s)Guitar, trombone
Years active1920s–1980s

Edward Durham (August 19, 1906 – March 6, 1987)[1] was an American jazz guitarist,[2] trombonist, composer, and arranger. He was one of the pioneers of the electric guitar in jazz. The orchestras of Bennie Moten, Jimmie Lunceford, Count Basie,[2] and Glenn Miller took great benefit from his composing and arranging skill.

With Edgar Battle he composed "Topsy", which was recorded by Count Basie and became a hit for Benny Goodman.[2]

In 1938, Durham wrote "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire" with Bennie Benjamin, Sol Marcus, and Eddie Seiler. During the 1940s, Durham created Eddie Durham's All-Star Girl Orchestra, an African-American all female swing band that toured the United States and Canada.[3]

Early life[edit]

Durham was born in San Marcos, Texas, on August 19, 1906, to Joseph Durham Sr. and Luella Rabb (née Mohawk) Durham. From an early age, Durham performed with his family in the Durham Brothers Band. At the age of eighteen, he began traveling and playing in regional bands.

Pioneer on the electric guitar[edit]

From 1929, Durham started experimenting to enhance the sound of his guitar using resonators and megaphones. In 1935, he was the first to record an electrically amplified guitar[4] with Jimmie Lunceford in "Hittin' the Bottle" that was recorded in New York for Decca.[5] In 1938, Durham recorded single string electric guitar solos with the Kansas City Five (or Six), which were both smallish groups that included members of Count Basie's rhythm section along with the tenor saxophone playing of Lester Young.[6]


As leader[edit]

  • Eddie Durham (RCA, 1974)
  • Blue Bone (JSP, 1981)

As sideman[edit]

  • Bennie Moten, Band Box Shuffle (Hep 1929–32)
  • Jimmie Lunceford, The Complete Jimmie Lunceford Vol. 3, 4, 5 (Decca, 1935–39)
  • Count Basie, The Complete Decca Recordings (3CD) (Decca 1937–41)
  • Lester Young, Lester Young with the Kansas City Five (Commodore, 1938)
  • Glenn Miller, The Complete Glenn Miller (RCA Bluebird 1938–42)

Selected compositions and arrangements[edit]

  • Bennie Moten:
  • Jimmie Lunceford:
    • "Rhapsody junior" (1935) with Edwin Wilcox
    • "Oh! Boy" (1935)
    • "Avalon" (1935)
    • "Hittin' the Bottle" (1935)
    • "Harlem Shout" (1936)
    • "Runnig A Temperature" (1936)
    • "Honey Keep Your Mind On Me" (1936)
    • "Count Me Out" (1936)
    • "Pigeon Walk" (1937)
    • "Wham (Re.Bop.Boom-Bam)" (1939)
    • "Lunceford Special" (1939)
    • "Blues In The Groove" (1939)
    • "It's Time To Jump And Shout" (1939)
  • Count Basie:
  • Glenn Miller
    • "In The Mood" (RCA Bluebird 1939)
    • "Slip Horn Jive" (RCA Bluebird 1939)
    • "Wham (Re.Bop.Boom-Bam)" (RCA Bluebird 1939)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 368. ISBN 978-0313344237.
  2. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (2002). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Fifties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 115/6. ISBN 1-85227-937-0.
  3. ^ Daniels, Douglas Henry (2006). One O'Clock Jump: The Unforgettable History of the Oklahoma City Blue Devils. Boston: Beacon Press. pp. 193–197.
  4. ^ Zelade, Richard (1987). Lone Star Travel Guide to Texas Hill Country. Plymouth: Taylor Trade Publishing. p. 260. ISBN 978-1-58979609-6.
  5. ^ Abrams, Steve (September 5, 2015). "Decca (USA) 500 - 1000 Numerical Listing". The Online Discographical Project. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  6. ^ Robert Palmer (1981). Deep Blues. Penguin Books. p. 197. ISBN 978-0-14-006223-6.
  7. ^ Vacher, Peter (2002). Kernfeld, Barry (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. Vol. 1 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. p. 674. ISBN 1-56159-284-6.

External links[edit]