born on 21/9/1914 in Englewood, NJ, United States
died on 10/12/1987 in Binghamton, NY, United States
Leroy Eliot "Slam" Stewart (September 21, 1914December 10, 1987) was an African American jazz bass player whose trademark style was his ability to bow the bass (arco) and simultaneously hum or sing an octave higher. He was originally a violin player before switching to bass at the age of 20.
Stewart was born in Englewood, New Jersey on September 21, 1914, and began playing string bass while attending Dwight Morrow High School. While attending the Boston Conservatory, he heard Ray Perry singing along with his violin. This gave him the inspiration to follow suit with his bass. In 1937 Stewart teamed with Slim Gaillard to form the novelty jazz act Slim and Slam. The duo's biggest hit was "Flat Foot Floogie (with a Floy Floy)" in 1938 (see 1938 in music).
Stewart found regular session work throughout the 1940s with Lester Young, Fats Waller, Coleman Hawkins, Erroll Garner, Art Tatum, Johnny Guarnieri, Red Norvo, Don Byas, the Benny Goodman Sextet, and Beryl Booker, among others. One of the most famous sessions he played on took place in 1945, when Stewart played with Dizzy Gillespie's group (which featured Charlie Parker). Out of those sessions came some of the classics of bebop such as "Groovin' High" and "Dizzy Atmosphere."
Throughout the rest of his career, Stewart worked regularly and employed his unique and enjoyable bass-playing style. He taught at the State University of New York at Binghamton, New York, and at Yale University. He died on December 9, 1987 in Binghamton.
- Slam Stewart (1971)
- Slamboree (1972)
- Fish Scales (1975)
- Two Big Mice (1977)
- Dialogue (1978)
- Shut Yo' Mouth! (1981)
- The Cats Are Swingin' (1987)
- Slam Bam (2000)
- Bowin' Singin' Slam (1945)
- Memorial Album 1914-1987 (1978)
- 1945-1946 (1997)
- Jumpin' at the Deuces
- Hellzapoppin' (1941)
- Almost Married (1942)
- Boy! What a Girl! (1947)
- Stewart, Slam (Leroy Elliot), Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians. Accessed February 4, 2013. "Leroy Elliot Slam Stewart was born on September 21st, 1914 in Englewood, New Jersey. Stewart started his musical journey at age six playing the violin. Claiming he didn't care for the timbre of the violin, Stewart switched to the string bass while attending Dwight Morrow High School."
- [Slam Stewart at All Music Guide|Slam Stewart at Allmusic]
- A Slam Stewart Biography
- www.myspace.com/slamstewart - Fan page with music, videos, more
- Slam Stewart and other jazz musicians on Don Gabor's Continental Records
- Slam Stewart solo transcription on "I Got Rhythm" at Back Beat Magazine