Tempo Blues Booking Agency  Past Tours

Eddie Bo (Sept 20, 1934, March 18, 2009)

"One of the finest American composers of the second half of the 20th century."

Offbeat - November 1995

Edwin Joseph Bocage, known to music lovers around the world as ‘Eddie Bo’, was born in New Orleans, raised in Algiers and the 9th Ward. His family was legendary in the traditional jazz community; cousins Henry, Charles, and Peter, had all made important contributions playing with the finest jazz orchestras prior to World War II. Peter played most of his career with Sidney Bechet. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School and spending time abroad in the Army he returned to New Orleans to study composition and arranging at the Grundwald School of Music. It was here that Eddie Bo developed a unique style of piano playing and arranging that incorporated complex be-bop voicings, influenced by his mother, Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson. His mother was a self-taught pianist whose playing style was like that of Professor Longhair. Of course, Professor Longhair was a major influence on Bo as well. Ultimately the combination of styles that became Eddie Bo’s trademark were a delightful fusion of New Orleans rhythm and blues, jazz and funk.


In a career that spans well over forty-five years, Eddie Bo has made more 45’s than any artist has in New Orleans other than Fats Domino. He has produced records for Irma Thomas, Robert Parker, Art Neville, Chris Kenner, Al “Carnival Time” Johnson and Johnny Adams. He is a prolific songwriter of such wonderful songs as “Check Mr. Popeye,” “It Must Be Love,” “I’m Wise” (made famous by Little Richard under the name “Slippin’ and Slidin’”) and the hit recorded by Etta James “My Dearest Darling.” Eddie penned Tommy Ridgley’s “In the Same Old Way” and further demonstrates genius in the realm of contemporary New Orleans funk on such creative works as “Hook and Sling” and “Pass the Hatchet.”


During the 1950’s Eddie Bo led a group of stellar New Orleans sidemen around the country backing such vocalists as Ruth Brown, Joe Turner, Lloyd Price, Smiley Lewis, Earl King, the Wild Magnolia Indians, Algiers Brass Band, Treme Brass Band, Johnny Adams and The Platters. His versatility and professionalism have had a vital impact on the world of contemporary New Orleans music. As a vocalist, he is one of a kind, as a pianist he transcends categorizing. His spirit and vitality are an inspiration to young musicians all over the world. Eddie has had many of his early 45’s reissued on compilations and has contributed to the works of many other artists, including the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and George Porter.

When in May 1997 Eddie performed in Karachi, Pakistan, Mayor Marc Morial declared May 22 as ‘Eddie Bo Day’ and named him New Orleans’ Ambassador to Pakistan. Herewith, a few other significant accolades bestowed upon Eddie throughout his career:


• • Lifetime Achievement Award – South Louisiana Music Association
• • Best R&B Player 2000 – Big Easy Award
• • A Tribute to Eddie Bo – 13 & 14th, Annual WWOZ Piano Nights
• • Making A Difference Award – WDSU TV6 – NBC Affiliate
• • New Orleans Magazine – 2000 Jazz All Star – Contemporary Jazz
• • New Orleans Museum of Art – recognition for outstanding contributions and dedication to the arts
• • New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation – for unwavering loyalty to classic piano playing and rhythm and blues traditions
• • U. S. Congressional Lifetime Achievement Award in Jazz & Blues
• • New York Times Review – referred to as a ‘one man orchestra’
• • Lifetime Achievement Award – Music / Offbeat Best of the Beat


Eddie has self produced several CDs, the latest of which We Come To Party. He’s toured Europe in a series of stadium concerts which drew record setting audiences, and he’s been interviewed and performed for a PBS special, River of Song, that traces American popular music from the headwaters of the Mississippi to the gulf of Mexico. Eddie is featured in Part Four of this documentary: Louisiana, Where Music is King. It continues to be aired the world over.


Not only is Eddie richly endowed musically, he comes from a long line of ship builders which contributes greatly to his carpentry skills. His latest project, which encapsulates these abilities, is manifested at 2107 Banks Street. Here is where Eddie restructured a former doctor’s office and designed the first ‘Check Your Bucket’ café. You can hear him with his band performing regularly on Saturday nights.

While the experience of the venue will vary from one person to the next, the ambience subtly whispers, “Welcome”, as the spirit of hospitality encompasses you. Surely you’ll leave with an intense feeling of warmth and love. After all, this is an ‘Eddie Bo Production.’

 


REVIEWS, etc.


Nominee Big Easy Awards
New Orleans, LA
1996 Best R&B Artist
1997 Best Male Artist and Best R & B/Funk Artist

Offbeat - January 1998
The Best Music of 1997
"Eddie Bo - 'Hook & Sling' (Tuff City Records) We always knew that Bo was funky, but this reissued discovery from the vaults of SCRAM Records was a funk motherlode. These tracks from the 60s show Bo as a bandleader on par with James Brown and George Clinton, whipping the band into grooves reminiscent of the Meters' classic Josie instrumentals."


Gambit/Percussions - December 1997
"Music in 1997: Best Performance at Margaritaville: Eddie Bo"


Offbeat - May 1997
"Eddie Bo 'New Orleans Solo Piano'- Fantastic...Sumptuously recorded...Classic...very soulful...splendid...definitely sets the palate for more."
Esquire-April 1997


"...the Popeye, the New Orleans dance craze of the early sixties, which started with the great Eddie Bo's recording 'Check Mr. Popeye'."
ONYX Newsletter-February 1997
Recommended Eddie Bo under NEW ORLEANS Music on CD
Offbeat - January 1997

"Eddie Bo: New Orleans Solo Piano (Night Train International) The title says it all: one of the grand masters sits down at the ivories for an informal program of rollicking original compositions.'Tickling the Blues'gets my vote as best instrumental of 1996."
Gambit-April/May 1997

"Eddie Bo-Count Basin's Pick of the Day:
Bo is just as eclectic a performer today as he ever was."
Offbeat - May 1996

"New Orleans piano legend Eddie Bo holds down a must-see piano gig Thursdays through Sundays at 5 p.m. at Margarativille."
Gambit - April 1996

"Bo coaxes jazz and R&B from his piano, resulting in a sound so rich that most orchestras should be jealous."
Offbeat - November 1995

"Eddie Bo...a pianist adept in jazz as well as R&B. Few keyboard artists of his generation are as fluid or versatile. His bell-like tone gives each tune a clean precise sound. Few pianists engineer such intricate chords as Bo, who plays each note as if it were his last.".

Move & Groove
"Laissez Les Bons Temps Roulez in New Orleans:
He (Eddie Bo) has a very unique style of piano playing. It incorporates be-bop influences of Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson along with his major influence, the great Professor Longhair. This combination of NEW ORLEANS R&B, jazz and funk is Eddie Bo's trademark. He's a virtual one-man orchestra."
 
Eddie Bo