Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on April 25th, 1913, alto saxophonist Earl Bostic was a technical master of his instrument, yet remained somewhat under appreciated by jazz fans due to the string of simple, popular R&B/jump blues hits he recorded during the 1950s. Bostic played around the Midwest during the early thirties, studied at Xavier University, and toured with several bands before moving to New York in 1938. There he played for Don Redman, Edgar Hayes, and Lionel Hampton, making his record debut with the latter in 1939. In the early ’40s, he worked as an arranger and session musician, and began leading his own regular large group in 1945. Cutting back to a septet the next year, Bostic began recording regularly, scoring his first big hit with 1948’s “Temptation.” He soon signed with the King label, the home of most of his biggest jukebox hits, which usually featured a driving, heavy, R&B beat, and an alto sound that could be smooth and romantic or aggressive and bluesy.
In 1951, Bostic landed a number one R&B hit with “Flamingo,” plus another top ten in “Sleep.” Subsequent hits included “You Go To My Head” and “Cherokee.” Bostic’s bands became important training grounds for up-and-coming jazzmen like John Coltrane, Blue Mitchell, Stanley Turrentine, Benny Golson, Jaki Byard, and others. Unfortunately, Bostic suffered a heart attack in the late fifties, which kept him away from music for two years. He returned to performing in 1959, but didn’t record as extensively; when he did record in the sixties, his sessions were more soul-jazz that the proto-R&B of old. On October 28, 1965, Bostic suffered a fatal heart attack while playing a hotel in Rochester, New York.
The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame celebrates jazz legend Earl Bostic in this touching tribute show. To enjoy the jazz, call Bettie Downing at (918) 281-8609 and purchase your tickets. Members and Seniors enjoy discounted ticket prices at $10.00 each. General Admission tickets are only $15.00, or $20.00 for Reserved Table Seating.