Monty Alexander, Herb Ellis, Ray Brown/For All We Know/Overseas Special
Monday, March 29, 2010
Herb Ellis 1921-2010
I am sure I have told this story before. Well, here it is again. I fell in love with Herb Ellis when I first became interested in jazz. I was big into guitar players back then and collected a lot of them: Barney Kessel, Kenny Burrell, Tal Farlow, Wes Montgomery. But the guy who really got to me was Herb Ellis. I recall he once said something like this: there may be faster players, but if they ain't got that feelin', I got 'em. Well, Ellis had that feelin'.
In 1984, when my brother was visiting me in Southern California, jazz guitarist Lenny Breau was murdered. I didn't know Breau's work, and still don't. A benefit show was held in a small jazz club for Breau's widow. My brother can actually play the guitar, something I have never managed. He works today making guitars for Gibson. He was up for the benefit and we got tickets. I have to confess that I can't remember the many fine musicians who played there. I do remember Ellis. I got to shake his hand as he smoked a thin cigar during a break.
Ellis was the real thing. He died today, of Alzheimer. I plan to do a better post in his memory in the next few days. Meanwhile there is this sample, from a collaboration with Monty Alexander (piano) and Ray Brown (bass).
And here is a clip of Ellis doing what Ellis did.