Personalities | Chu Berry | Thirties | Jazz & Blues
(Tenor saxophone, 1908–41)
Inspired by Coleman Hawkins’ big sound, Leon ‘Chu’ Berry honed a more rapid, streamlined tenor attack. He recorded with Benny Carter in 1933 and joined Fletcher Henderson three years later. In 1937 he topped Down Beat’s first national poll of leading musicians and joined Cab Calloway’s orchestra, where he remained until his death. Berry also participated in numerous small groups. A versatile musician, he was equally at home skating over the beat at fast tempos, surging effortlessly through mid-tempos or playing romantic ballads in the Hawkins tradition.
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