Eldee Young was one of the premiere jazz bassists of the '50s and '60s. He was born in Chicago, IL, on January 7, 1936, to a musical family. His father was a mandolin player, and at an early age Young began playing the guitar with his brother. He moved to the bass in high school and later in college. After school, he moved on to playing with King Kolax in 1951. He played in that band until 1954, when he joined Chuck Willis' ensemble. On top of his jazz work, he also performed with several blues and jazz artists, notably T-Bone Walker and Joe Turner. He jumped from band to band through the second half of the '50s and the first half of the '60s, working with Ramsey Lewis, Lorez Alexandria, James Moody, and many others. He even released a solo album, Just for Kicks, in 1962. Finally, in 1966, Young teamed with drummer Isaac "Redd" Holt to form their own group. Starting as the Young-Holt Trio, they scored a minor hit with the novelty song "Wack Wack," but they soon changed their name to Young-Holt Unlimited. It was when they changed the name that they developed the soul-jazz sound that became their trademark. The group lasted until the mid-'70s, after which Young would work with many pop and rock stars on top of his jazz credits. His session work earned him gold records for "The In Crowd" and "Hang on Sloopy," two huge hits from the '60s, while he found himself working less but still making notable guest appearances live and on record. He began to resurface in the '80s, first working with April Aloisio, then moving on to working with more jazz artists and his own material. In 2000, he finally released his second solo release, an album with pianist Marshall Vente called The Long and Short of Jazz.
- by Bradley Torreano
All Music Group