It was because of his popularity with the girls that Lester Young gave Harry Edison (1915-1999) the nickname “Sweets”. But, as notewriter Digby Fairweather comments, beneath the sweetness lay a jazz conqueror who created his own starry place in the jazz firmament – and his legacy is here on Retrospective’s Edison Inventions. He may never have achieved the innovative multiplicities of his forefather Thomas. But what he did invent was what every jazz musician aspires to: an unmistakable stylistic signature. And this 2CD centenary collection represents a microcosm of his creative journey from dashing young trumpet-major to an artist instantly and joyfully recognizable.
From an opening representative quintet of outstanding tracks with the great Count Basie Orchestra, Edison Inventions presents arguably his 25 finest performances from his superlative Quartet and Sextet recordings of 1953-1962, together with three examples of his supreme ability as a muted accompanist, to vocalists Sinatra, Fitzgerald and Cole. The journey is taken in the company of many of the all-time greats of jazz: Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Duke Ellington, Jimmy Forrest, Johnny Hodges, Barney Kessel, Red Norvo, Oscar Peterson, Buddy Rich, Ben Webster and Lester Young – altogether a triumphant addition to Retrospective’s growing roster of great jazz trumpeters.