Teddy Edwards was called “one of the crown jewels of Los Angeles’ Central Avenue jazz scene.” He was one of the first to play full-blown bebop.
From Jackson, Mississippi, Edwards moved to Detroit in 1940, where he first picked up the alto sax. He worked with various touring bands in Michigan and Florida, and met trumpeter Howard McGhee, saxophonist Wardell Gray and bassist Al McKibbon. After playing with R&B singer Roy Milton, he was invited to join McGhee’s band.
Teddy Edwards is widely credited with recording the first bop solo for tenor sax, on the recording “Up in Dodo’s Room. He influenced players as diverse as Sonny Rollins, Stanley Turrentine and Joshua Redman.
“… I’ve always had my own sound on the alto and even on the tenor. I think it’s just a matter of me doing it my way, the way I learned how to do it. I never tried to copy Johnny Hodges or copy Willie Smith, but I loved those guys… but I didn’t sit down and say ‘I’m going to try to play like this.’ I never did.” –Teddy Edwards