Teddy Edwards passed away on April 20th, in Los Angeles at the age of 78, after a long bout with prostate cancer. Many people in the audience have seen Teddy perform all around Los Angeles, and all over the world for years, and who also recall with fondness Teddy’s beautiful tone on the tenor that he played with ease and his ability to play the tenor as if he was talking to you personality.
Art Collins a very close friend of Teddy’s served as Master of Ceremonies for this event. He also shared very touching and sometimes funny stories of he good friend between sets.
Carol Robin (harp) and James "Smitty" Smith opened the show with a song by Chuck Mangione entitled "Bye Bye", a spiritual song appropriate for this occasion. Bernie Hamilton, brother of Chico Hamilton recited an emotionally rich poem for Teddy. Trumpeter Clora Bryant remember Teddy in a unique way by reciting a beautiful poem of his full name, Theodore Marcus "Teddy" Edwards. Each letter of his name was followed by a word or phrase to describe Teddy and what his life meant to her. Drummer Pete Peterson from New York read a story entitled "The Bridge of Samuel Grey" which he stated correlated to the life of Teddy Edwards.
Art Collins summed up the afternoon perfectly by stating"This afternoon was not one of the greatest occasion for the local jazz community to gather for a memorial for Teddy"; he went on to say that "he felt a lot joy in the room". Drummers Frank Capp and Louie Bellson stated"Teddy was the finest gentleman one would have wished to meet and get to know". "He Teddy haven’t left us, he still lives in our hearts".
The second half of the program turned into a celebration of Teddy’s life and the legacy that he left behind thru his many recordings. Diane Weatherspoon sang several tunes written by Teddy entitled "L.A. After Dark" and a heartfelt version of "Tenderly". Vocalist Gene Diamond followed with "In The Evening When The Sun Goes Down" and segued into "Everyday I Have The Blues" to the delight of the appreciative audience.
Trumpeter Carl Saunders picked up the tempo with "Art Of May" and closed with two tunes composed by Duke Ellington entitled "I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good" and the group smoked as he took the crowd on a blazing trip thru the Sahara’s on the tune "Caravan". Musician friend Gerald Wilson recalled "Teddy as being an exceptional musician, composer, arranger and fabulous tenor player". Hollywood Charlie AKA Chuck Niles of KKJZ 88.1 FM ( America’s Number 1 Jazz Station) stated "Teddy’s music is the artist played the most on his program throughout his long career as a radio personality.
An impromptu jazz section followed featuring Kenny Burrell, Sal Marquez, Dan Weinstein, with vocals provided by Sweet Baby Jai, Paula Kelly, Ernie Andrews, and Linda Hopkins. A familiar voice sat down at the piano to play and sing. You could have heard a pin drop in the Union Hall as the capacity crowd gave Tom Waits their undivided attention for his brief set. The afternoon also consisted of fond recollections and performances by relatives of Teddy.
The family requested that anyone wishing to contribute to the scholarship fund to send a check or money order to The Teddy Edwards Memorial Scholarship Fund-Compton College 1111 East Artesia Blvd Compton, California, 90221. Proceeds from the memorial concert went to this worthy scholarship fund.