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.
Having come from a family that is legendary in the traditional jazz
Henry, Charles, and Peter, had all made important contributions playing
with the finest jazz orchestras prior to World War II), 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 Grunewald 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 Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson. His mother
and Professor Longhair, whose playing styles were similar, were major
influences on Bo as well.
In a career that spanned well over five decades, Eddie Bo made more 45's
than any artist had in New Orleans other than Fats Domino. He produced
records for Irma Thomas, Robert Parker, Art Neville, Chris Kenner, Al
"Carnival Time" Johnson and the late Johnny Adams. Bo
was a prolific songwriter, having penned several timeless songs: "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". He also
wrote Tommy Ridgley's "In The Same Old Way" and further demonstrated
genius in the realm of contemporary New Orleans funk on the highly
creative works "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, the late Johnny Adams and the Platters.
His versatility and professionalism had a vital impact on the world of
contemporary New Orleans music. As a vocalist, he was one of a kind. As
a pianist, he transcended categorizing. His spirit and vitality were an
inspiration to musicians all over the world.
Bo had many of his early 45's reissued on compilations and contributed
to the works of many other artists, including The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
and George Porter, Jr.
Throughout his career, Eddie self-produced several CDs and toured Europe
in a series of stadium concerts which drew record setting audiences.