Ed Polcer

Decades: 1970s 1990s 2000s


10 February 1937, Paterson, New Jersey, USA. Polcer first displayed his musical talents at the age of six when he played the xylophone. He began playing cornet semi-professionally while studying engineering at university. The band there, Princeton’s very own Stan Rubin’s Tigertown Five, had the distinction of playing both at Carnegie Hall and at the 1956 wedding of Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly in Monaco. In the 50s Polcer played in New York’s clubland, returning there permanently after military service in the early 60s. Although gigging regularly at Jimmy Ryan’s, the Metropole and other clubs, he remained a semi-pro, continuing his simultaneous business career.

Throughout the 70s and into the mid-80s he was steadily more active in jazz, becoming a full-time musician in 1975 and taking on co-ownership of Eddie Condon’s club. Apart from co-leading the house band (with Red Balaban, who was also co-owner of the club),...

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