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Slam Stewart

Born: September 21, 1914 | Died: December 10, 1987    Primary Instrument: Bass

Slam Stewart

Slam Stewart was a superior swing-oriented bassist whose ability to bow the bass and hum an octave apart made him famous in the jazz world. He had thought of the idea while studying at Boston Conservatory when he heard Ray Perry singing along with his violin.

In 1936, Stewart was with Peanuts Holland's group and the following year he started playing regularly with guitarist/singer/comedian Slim Gaillard in a group logically dubbed “Slim and Slam.” “Flat Foot Floogie” became a huge hit and kept the group working through the early '40s.

After leaving Gaillard, Stewart was in great demand. He played with Art Tatum's trio, was featured on records with the Benny Goodman Sextet, Red Norvo (a famous session with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie), and Lester Young (a classic rendition of “Sometimes I'm Happy”), and led his own group which for a period featured the up-and-coming pianist Erroll Garner....
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