ED‘Tiger’LEWIS Memorial Album (Live at blue note) 2CD SET
OSAMU ICHIKAWA (p)
HIROMICHI INOUE (ts)
AKIRA TOYODA (ds)
HIDEJI TANINAKA (b)
YOSHIE ICHIKAWA (vo)
Recorded at blue note KYOTO in 1998.
Let me introduce Ed Lewis, aka Ed "Tiger" Lewis. He was a rare trumpeter and, you know, different from another Ed Lewis, who,
17 years older than our Ed "Tiger", played with the the Count Basie Orchestra. Our Ed "Tiger" Lewis, was 175cm (5.74 feet) tall
and weighed 100kg (220 pounds), once told that he was paid the other Ed's wage from the union by mistake on one occasion.
Born in 1926 in Brooklyn, he was the same age as Miles Davis. His mother was a dancer at the Cotton Club, a famous night club
in New York City. He never talked about his father.
In his teens, he was awarded prizes six times in contests at the Apollo Theater in New York City. He was one of the members of
Dizzy Gillespie's first band, and he sided with Kenny Dorham (later replaced by Miles Davis), with Max Roach on drums and
Charlie Rouse on tenor saxophone. Recordings of those performances were not made because of the musicians' strike during
some period of WWII.
Ed studied playing the trumpet under Harry "Sweets" Edison for some time. However he was told not to come back to Harry later,
Ed once uttered with a laugh.
He, usually with Miles Davis, used to attend the jam sessions with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie on 52nd street, and under
such terrible pressure Ed and Miles often had to force each other to walk onstage.
One day Ed's trumpet was gone. Later it was found at a hockshop nearby, and it turned out that it was Miles who had pawned it.
Ed enjoyed talking about such things: A bassist, being envious with the playing of Ray Brown, cut off all the strings of Ray's
instrument with a nipper; Sonny Greer, a drummer at the Ellington Orchestra, drank heavily and fell down from his tier then
climbed up with his life; Oscar Pettiford and Oscar Peterson got into a scuffle when the former said to the latter that Phineas
Newborn was farther out than Oscar; Ed was often taken for Count Basie because he would wear a captain's hat etc, etc..,
he was always cracking jokes swinging his stomach.
He once led a group with the name of Brooklyn Bebop Boys, and, as a soloist, he had occasion to play with Billie Holiday in
Detroit. With Arnett Cobb, he went on playing tours for five years, and they changed clothes five times for five stages at the
Apollo Theater in New York. It can safely be said that Ed was a living witness of bebop and one of the greatest musicians of the
After leaving the Illinois Jacquet Orchestra, he retired as a so called full-time musician, and played at the West End Cafe for the
weekends, while he drove a limousine for the Bank of Tokyo on other days of the week.
After 26 years of limousine driving, he retired from the job at the bank. And then, one day he saw Hideji Taninaka(B), Roy
Campbell(Tp), Zane Masse(Ts), and Sadik Abdushahid(Ds) playing at the concourse at Grand Central Station. Ed said that he
also played the trumpet. Roy told him to try playing and handed him a horn. As the sounds that Ed played were very nice, many
people gathered there.
From then on, he came to play together with them around the city. Later, in 1995, Ed joined the homecoming live tour organized
by Hideji Taninaka through Japan, along with Evelyn Blakey, the late Art Blakey's daughter.
When I met Ed for the first time, during this tour, at Kyoto Station, he looked like Count Basie, with a captain's hat, and was
obviously a jazzman from that generation.
I joined the group as a pianist, in Toyama, thanks to Taninaka, who had been absent from Japan for 10 years, with the New York
members. As a japanophile, and joining this tour at his own expense, Ed made many friends everywhere in Japan. Everybody
was deeply moved by the warm sounds of his trumpet. The performances resulted in some of the greatest playing I had heard
The recordings of the performance on that occasion were published in my CD entitled "The Monk."
In 1998, he came to Japan by himself. He went on a playing tour with Hideji Taninaka(B), Akira Toyoda(Ds), Hiromichi Inouse
(Ts), and me(Pf). Yoshie Ichikawa(Vo) also sang with us. This CD contains the recordings of the performance of this group at
Blue Note, Kyoto.
He once let me listen to a recording tape of his performance with Billie Holiday. He was very nice at slow obbligato after melodies
sung while his shakes and down glisses (or down glissandos) were amazingly good and I was stunned by those.
I love Ed blowing blues, like the beginning from "Hello Everybody" and blowing "CC Rider." Ed was a man who was full of love,
had a great sense of humor, and loved jokes among many other things.
He passed away in his home on February 3, 1999, soon after he returned to New York. I believe he left a great bequest to the
people of Japan.
Although we could not play in Tokyo, the sounds of the music performances by Ed Lewis, one of the best trumpeter, can reach
your ears, through this CD.
We are very grateful to Mr. Ohigashi who kindly recorded our music performances and made this CD.
With many thanks to Mr. Hideji Taninaka who brought me and Ed together, and to Ms. Hitomi Nakata, a pianist living in Toyama,
who took care of Ed in Japan, and also attended his funeral.
(November 9, 1999 by Osamu Ichikawa)