Teddy Bunn

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Teddy Bunn
Birth name Theodore Leroy Bunn
Born (1909-05-07)May 7, 1909
Freeport, New York, U.S.
Died July 20, 1978(1978-07-20) (aged 69)
Lancaster, California
Genres Jazz, blues, swing
Occupation(s) Musician, composer
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active Late 1920s–late 1960s
Labels Blue Note

Theodore Leroy "Teddy" Bunn (May 7, 1909 – July 20, 1978[a]) was an American blues and jazz guitarist, vocalist, and composer.

Early life[edit]

Bunn was born in Freeport, New York.[2]:3 He had two brothers, Kenneth and Jimmy.[2]:3 Bunn's father played accordion and harmonica; his mother played organ in a church.[2]:3 Bunn was given a guitar by his father, who also gave him some basic instruction; apart from this, Bunn was self-taught.[2]:3 He never learned to read music, so played by ear.[2]:6

Later life and career[edit]

In 1929 Bunn began recording with Duke Ellington as a guest performer. From 1929 to 1931, Bunn played with The Washboard Serenaders. He recorded with the Spirits of Rhythm from 1932 to 1937 and again from 1939 to 1941.

Bunn recorded with such musicians as Sidney Bechet, Hadda Brooks, Johnny Dodds, J.C. Higginbotham, Lionel Hampton and Jimmie Noone. Bunn played electric guitar from 1940.[2]:4 He recorded solo numbers for Blue Note Records in 1940;[2]:6 after this, his popularity apparently declined.

By the 1970s Bunn played electric guitar almost exclusively in R&B bands. He suffered a stroke after joining Louis Jordan's band[2]:7 and was unwell for more than a decade following it.[2]:3 He died on July 20, 1978 in Lancaster Hospital, California.[2]:3 He was survived by one son and two daughters.[2]:3

Playing style[edit]

Bunn's playing was "predominantly melodic rather than chordal".[1] He did not use a pick; he used "mostly my thumb, that's how I figured it when I first had that first guitar."[2]:6


  1. ^ Some sources give 1910, based on a social security application.[1]


  1. ^ a b Simmen, Johnny; Rye, Howard; Kernfeld, Barry "Bunn, Teddy". In The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2nd ed.) Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved December 9, 2014. [Subscription required].
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Tanner, Peter (October–November 1978) "The Late Teddy Bunn". Storyville. Volume 79.