Eddie Chamblee

Decades: 1950s 1960s 1970s


Edward Leon Chamblee, 24 February 1920, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Music was Chamblee’s second choice, having begun to study law. In the early 40s, during his army service, he became deeply involved in music, playing the tenor saxophone, and performing in, and sometimes directing, army bands. From 1946 until he joined Lionel Hampton in 1955, Chamblee led a small band in Chicago. His tenure with Hampton lasted two years but it was long enough for him to build a reputation in Europe. Married briefly to Dinah Washington, he recorded with her, sometimes singing duets in a style similar to that which Washington adopted for her later successes with Brook Benton. Chamblee continued to lead small groups into the mid-70s, when he again visited Europe with both Milt Buckner and Hampton. In the early 80s he switched to alto saxophone for a short stint with Count Basie. Although derivative, Chamblee’s playing has an urgent, earthy quality that blended well into the...

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