I heard on KKJZ this morning that LA’s homegrown tenor sax giant Teddy Edwards died yesterday, Easter Sunday, 2003.
I saw Teddy a couple times, but the last time me and perhaps 50 others saw him play at the Autry Museum was one of the most sublime musical events I have ever experienced. It was downstairs in the atrium. He mostly sat. The rhythm section was impeccable. And Teddy’s horn flowed like pure Prez and Dexter Gordon, but of a sound all his own. Laying down beautiful, soulful passages that just graced that room, floating, down down down to almost inaudible low tones, brief flurries of notes, and bluesy chords that just yanked at your insides till people moaned, audibly. Between songs he croaked out patter in that indecipherable LA bop drawl (like Dexter Gordon, but less vocal, if you can imagine that.) I left there with the feeling that sometimes music is the most important thing in the world, that there are moments in your life when certain notes blown certain ways just seem to elevate you beyond all the daily boredom of work or gossip. That perhaps in and around the workings of a melody are places of discovery that, for some reason I can’t divine, are just perfection.