Phil Schaap Jazz

Eddie Locke

Drummer Eddie Locke was one of Jazz giants pictured on the stoop in Harlem back in August of 1958, and was one of the six who were still alive in 2009. Locke was born on August 2, 1930, and was part of that remarkable generation of musicians from the Motor City whose impact on Jazz in the 1950s was as vitally important as Detroit’s impact on the automobile industry. Eddie Locke came to New York City in 1954 as part of a unique duo, Bop & Locke, that played the Apollo. They alternated and dueted as dancers, singers, and drummers. (“Bop” was Oliver Jackson, Ali Jackson’s uncle.) In The Big Apple, Locke came under the tutelage of Papa Jo Jones. In 1957, Jo began a practice of sending in Eddie as a sub, unannounced. It worked. Faced with using Eddie Locke or not having a drummer, many of the greatest names in Jazz found Locke to their liking. Eddie developed long-term associations with Coleman Hawkins and Roy Eldridge, backing them both individually and as a pair. In the 1960s, Locke was the drummer for the Coleman Hawkins Quartet, playing alongside Major Holley and pianists Tommy Flanagan and, later, {Coach} Barry Harris. After Hawkins’ death in 1969, Locke began an eleven-year run at Jimmy Ryan’s on West 54th Street as a member of Roy Eldridge’s combo. Eddie Locke also worked extensively with Teddy Wilson, Sir Roland Hanna, and Kenny Burrell. After Eldridge retired, Locke remained at Jimmy Ryan’s until it closed on December 23, 1983. It was during his Ryan’s years that the Locke’s work with children and in schools commenced. For many years he taught music at The Trevor Day School in New York. These efforts went beyond rudimentary drum lessons and even into Jazz. Eddie Locke assembled many drum corps for various schools and organizations. He always beamed when they would play official events for various municipalities or holidays.