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Edwin Joseph Bocage was born on September 20, 1930 in New Orleans, LA and was raised in Algiers and the 9th Ward. His family was legendary in New Orleans jazz community, including his cousins Henry, Charles and Peter who all played with the finest jazz orchestras in the area prior to World War II. After graduating from high school, Eddie spent time in the army and then returned to New Orleans to study composition and arranging at the Grunewald School of Music. His early influences included Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson, as well as Professor Longhair and his mother, a pianist with a similar style to Longhair's
During the 1950s Eddie led a group of great local sidemen and backed up legendary singers that included Ruth Brown, Joe Turner, Lloyd Price, Smiley Lewis, Earl King, The Algiers Brass Band and The Platters. He also produced music for such artists as Irma Thomas, Robert Parker, Art Neville, Al Johnson and Johnny Adams. In addition to those accomplishments he was well known for his song writing too. His most well known compositions include “Hook and Sling”, “Pass the Hatchet”, “Check Mr. Popeye”, “It Must Be Love”, “Slippin’ and Slidin’” made famous by Little Richard, and “My Dearest Darling”, made famous by Etta James. Eddie’s career spanned more than five decades and during that time only one New Orleans artist recorded more 45’s and that was Fats Domino.
Eddie Bo spread his New Orleans inspired Jazz throughout Europe and the world. May 22, 1997 was declared “Eddie Bo Day” in New Orleans by former Mayor Marc Morial while Eddie happened to be playing in Pakistan at the time. As a result, he was also declared New Orleans’ music ambassador to Pakistan. Eddie also received a U.S. Congressional Lifetime Achievement Award in Jazz and Blues. Eddie Bo passed away on March 18, 2009 of a heart attack.
“People often ask me how it is that I seem to be so much at peace. There is a primary reason --- and it is available to all who wish to have it. Here's a simple prerequisite to attaining peace at that level. I invite you to observe the beasts, birds and fish and let them teach you. Let this be a daily routine and life, as you know it, will never be the same.” – Eddie Bo
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