Friday, March 22, 2013
Eddie Bo- Shake, Rattle And Soul & Reassure Me
Edwin Joseph Bocage, known to music lovers around the world as 'Eddie Bo', was born in New Orleans, raised in Algiers and the 9th Ward. Having come from a family that is legendary in the traditional jazz community (cousins Henry, Charles, and Peter, had all made important contributions playing with the finest jazz orchestras prior to World War II), after graduating from Booker T. Washington High School and spending time abroad in the Army, he returned to New Orleans to study composition and arranging at the Grunewald School of Music. It was here that Eddie Bo developed a unique style of piano playing and arranging that incorporated complex be-bop voicings, influenced by Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson. His mother and Professor Longhair, whose playing styles were similar, were major influences on Bo as well.
In a career that spanned well over five decades, Eddie Bo made more 45's than any artist had in New Orleans other than Fats Domino. He produced records for Irma Thomas, Robert Parker, Art Neville, Chris Kenner, Al "Carnival Time" Johnson and the late Johnny Adams. Bo was a prolific songwriter, having penned several timeless songs: "Check Mr. Popeye", "It Must Be Love", "I'm Wise" (made famous by Little Richard under the name "Slippin' and Slidin'") and the hit recorded by Etta James, "My Dearest Darling". He also wrote Tommy Ridgley's "In The Same Old Way" and further demonstrated genius in the realm of contemporary New Orleans funk on the highly creative works "Hook and Sling" and "Pass the Hatchet."
During the 1950's Eddie Bo led a group of stellar New Orleans sidemen around the country backing such vocalists as Ruth Brown, Joe Turner, Lloyd Price, Smiley Lewis, Earl King, the Wild Magnolia Indians, Algiers brass Band, Treme Brass Band, the late Johnny Adams and the Platters. His versatility and professionalism had a vital impact on the world of contemporary New Orleans music. As a vocalist, he was one of a kind. As a pianist, he transcended categorizing. His spirit and vitality were an inspiration to musicians all over the world.