Monday, May 22, 2017
Eddie Edwards was born Edwin Branford Edwards in New Orleans on May 22, 1891.
At about the age of ten he began learning the violin. Five years later Edwards began playing the trombone.
He would eventually play both instruments as a professional musician. In 1910 he worked in a local theater as a violinist. As a trombonist he played with "Papa" Jack Laine's Reliance band in 1912 and by 1914 started working with Ernest Giardina's band.
For a regular job he and Nick LaRocca, worked as electricians. He also played minor league baseball around the New Orleans area.
When Johnny Stein's Jazz Band went to Chicago in 1916 Edwards was chosen by Alcide Nunez to be the band's trombone player. Several of this bands personnel would form the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. With this group Edwards would play on the "first" jazz recordings in 1917.
Edwards was a good rhythmic trombonist and also played in a style that became known as the tailgate trombone. He used his horn to mimic animals and to create wild wails anything that would excite and entice the audience.
Unfortunately, he was drafted into the Army during World War I and was replaced by Emile Christian. Edwards served in the army from July 1918 to March 1919. After his discharge from the army, he is said to have kicked around a bit, forming his own band and playing with Jimmy Durante's band before going back to play with the Original Dixieland Jazz Band where he stayed with them until the band broke up in 1925.
Edwards formed his own band in New York after the break-up and successfully led it for most of the remainder of the 1920s. After the 1929 stock market crash he held out for a few more years before calling it quits and retired from music.
For awhile Edwards ran a newspaper stand. Being an athlete he also worked as a coach. But when Nick LaRocca called about reforming the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1936 he jumped at the chance. From then on he was playing into the 1940s sometimes with members of the Original band including J. Russel Robinson, Larry Shields and Tony Sbarbaro.
He continued playing, although not regularly right up until his death on April 9, 1963 in New York.