Harry Sweets Edison is one of the few players in the history of jazz trumpet who could be instantly identified after only a few notes; along with Bobby Hackett, he was acknowledged as one of the few master trumpet accompanists.
Born in Columbus, Ohio, Edison moved to Louisville, Kentucky to live with his uncle. It was his uncle who first exposed Edison to music, first teaching him to play a pump organ. Edison later found an old cornet in the house and taught himself scales. He cited early exposure to recordings of Louis Armstrong backing up Bessie Smith as important influences on his playing.