Earl Bostic Biography

Eugene Earl Bostic, 25 April 1913, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, d. 28 October 1965, Rochester, New York, USA. The romantic and smooth sound of Bostic’s band, usually featuring the vibes of Gene Redd, piano of Fletcher Smith, bass of Margo Gibson, drums of Charles Walton, guitar of Alan Seltzer, and the marvellous alto saxophone of Bostic, was one of the great and distinctive sounds of both R&B and pop music, and his records became perennials on the juke-boxes during the 50s. Bostic was best known for his alto saxophone sound but he also played tenor saxophone, flute and clarinet on his records. Bostic was formally trained in music, having received a degree in music theory from Xavier University. He moved to New York City and formed a jazz combo in 1938. In the early 40s he was playing in the Lionel Hampton band. He left Hampton in 1945 to form a combo, recording tracks for Majestic, but did not make much of an impression until he signed with New York-based Gotham in 1948. He had immediate success with ‘Temptation’ (US R&B number 10). During the 50s he recorded prolifically for Cincinnati-based King Records, and had two big singles, ‘Sleep’ (US R&B number 6) and ‘Flamingo’ (US R&B number 1), in 1951. The smooth but perky performance on the latter became his signature tune and made him something of a Beach Music artist in the Carolinas. During the 60s Bostic recorded a number of albums for King which ventured deeper into soul jazz territory. He succumbed to a fatal heart attack while playing a show in Rochester, New York.


Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.


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