Earl Bostic

Earl Bostic (25 April 1912 – 28 October 1965) was an American jazz and rhythm and blues alto saxophonist. Over the course of his career he worked as a recording artist, bandleader and arranger. Bostic made his first recordings with Lionel Hampton before forming his own group in 1945. Throughout the 1950s he released many rhythm and blues style records on the King label. His playing style was reportedly an influence on John Coltrane.

Links to Peel

"I do love that man, I must say." (JP, 17 December 2003)
Earl Bostic held a special place in Peel's affections because one of his recordings became the first "jazz" record he bought.

When Peel was a schoolboy in the early 1950s there were few outlets available where one could find information about records. As he often mentioned, jazz magazines were about the only place where you could read record reviews:

"When I was a lad, the only music magazines that I could get were 'Jazz Journal' and 'Jazz Monthly', which I used to buy from a stall in Hamilton Square station in Birkenhead. You could never hear any of the records... In those days as I say, no chance at all of hearing any of the records that were reviewed. So you grew up having no idea at all what they sounded like so I used to choose people that I liked principally because I thought they'd got great names. And Earl Bostic I felt was a good name... the records were always put down in the reviews, always given a terrible slagging and there was a lot of stuff about "the coarseness of tone" and "the wide vibrato" and I used to think to myself, I like the sound of that coarseness of tone and the wide vibrato. And when I eventually got to hear Earl Bostic of course I realised that I was absolutely right." (10 April 2001)

"I've told you this countless times before, but when I was a kid and I used to read magazines that were about jazz - because they were the only magazines you could find that were actually about music - they were always enormously dismissive of Earl Bostic and talked about his "vulgar honking tone" and so forth. Of course, that's exactly what it is, his vulgar honking tone! It's exactly what I wanted too. Ah, what a great man." (12 June 2003)

In a story that was told many times over the years, while at Shrewsbury School Peel visited Wilding's record shop in the town and bought the 10" coupling of "Flamingo" and "Sleep" on the Vogue label, hoping to impress the school jazz society. This account from 23 September 1999 (when "Sleep" was featured in the Peelenium 1953), is fairly typical:

"It's the first jazz or jazz-related record that I bought and it's when I was still at boarding school in Shrewsbury. One of the reasons I bought it actually was because first of all it had got a label which I didn't already have and it also had the lineup of the band on the label, which I'd never seen before and which I found enormously exciting. And also I thought it would give me a certain amount of prestige and enable me to become a member in good standing of the jazz club at the school, which was called the High Society, run by a rather snooty boy called Comyns. I've often wondered what became of him. I took along my Earl Bostic record and it was very much scoffed at, as I was, and I was rejected as a result of owning this record. But it still sounds like a great record to me. In the reviews at the time, all the jazz magazines used to dismiss Earl Bostic, saying that his tone was too broad, and his vibrato was too broad or something - I forget what it was. I used to think, whatever it is that they don't like about it, I think I would like that and I was absolutely right."

An earlier telling of the tale from 08 May 1992 went like this:

"Earl Bostic, from lots of different places but particularly in my case from the first 'jazz' 78 that I ever bought. I've probably told you a thousand times the story of taking it to the jazz club at my school. I was telling the Pig this afternoon at home and she's obviously heard the story like a hundred times but very patiently standing there listening to it, "yes. Ooh! Is that what happened? Well, well, well." I took it in there and I was really proud of myself because I thought, it's a great record and they're bound to like it. And I put it on and it was all these rather superior sixth formers who are now like Lords Lieutenants of counties and things like that and High Court judges and so on, and they just kind of sneered at it and as I was telling her this afternoon my eyes filled with hot tears once again remembering the humiliation of it all. I was about sixteen at the time."
(See also Peeling Back The Years 1 (Transcript) / 27 July 1987 / 14 March 1992 / 17 May 1992 (BFBS) / 07 January 1996 (BFBS) and Margrave Of The Marshes, p71.)

"Sleep" ("one of the very greatest records of all time" - 07 January 1996 (BFBS)) was included in the Peelenium of 1953. Earl Bostic & His Orchestra featured several times over the years as a selection for Pig's Big 78.

The posthumous collection of Pig's Big 78 tracks released by Trikont in 2006 included Earl Bostic's "Sleep".

Festive Fifty Entries

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Other Shows Played

Earl Bostic - Sleep

Earl Bostic - Sleep

The list below was researched only from the database of this site and Lorcan's Tracklistings Archive and may be incomplete. Please add further information if known.

See Also

External Links

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