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Herb Ellis


herb ellisMitchell Herbert (Herb) Ellis (born August 4, 1921) is an American jazz guitarist.Growing up on the outskirts of Dallas, Texas, EllisHerb Ellis first heard the electric guitar performed by George Barnes on a radio program. This experience is said to have inspired him to take up the guitar. He became proficient on the instrument by the time he entered North Texas State University as a music major. Ellis majored in music, but because they did not have a guitar program he studied the string bass. Unfortunately and due to lack of funds his college days were short lived. In 1941 Herb dropped out of college and toured for 6 months with a band from the University of Kansas. In 1943 joined Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra and it was with Gray's band that he got his first recognition in the jazz magazines. After Gray's band, Ellis joined the Jimmy Dorsey band where he played some of his first recorded solos.

Playing with Oscar Peterson
herb ellisHe became prominent after performing with the Oscar Peterson Trio from 1953 to 1958. He was a somewhat controversial member of the trio because he was the only white person in the group in a time when racism was still very much widespread.He toured with Jazz at the Philharmonic while he was with the Peterson Trio and appears on the classic jazz recording Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster (1957). Since leaving the Trio he has toured and recorded with a wide range of musicians, and also recorded his own sessions. He toured with Charlie Byrd and Barney Kessel as the Great Guitars. He also spent time with the Steve Allen show. He was a guitarist whose musical style inspired the guitarist Emily Remler, on her album Firefly she plays a tribute to him.