YouTube - Herb Ellis - Sweet Georgia Brown (1986)
Famed jazz guitarist Herb Ellis -- who played alongside the legendary Ella Fitzgerald during his storied career -- died Sunday at home in Los Angeles, according to the Associated Press. Ellis, 88, passed away due to complications from Alzheimer's disease.
Ellis originally got his start with big band icon Jimmy Dorsey but the jazz soloist was regarded for his work with the Oscar Peterson Trio. Following his stretch playing with Dorsey, he co-founded the Soft Winds trio. That outfit's song 'Detour Ahead' was embraced by Billie Holliday, who helped make it a standard in the jazz genre. Later, Ellis joined pianist Peterson and bassist Ray Brown for a productive run between 1953 and 1958 before touring and recording as a sideman to Fitzgerald.
A native of Farmersville, Texas, Ellis was an innovative player who fused bebop with country twang, and was touted as one of the genre's finest guitarists. In addition to his aforementioned efforts, Ellis was a recurrent contributor to Norman Granz's all-star Jazz at the Philharmonic tours.
In a statement, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said, "Ellis always remained true to the form he played from the beginning. The jazz world has lost a great musician, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and all who enjoyed his work."