Harry Carney

Harry Carney's baritone saxophone was the anchor, the lodestone, the foundation of a distinctive tonal blend that virtually defined the Duke Ellington Orchestra for more than 45 years. A mainstay of the Ellington experience, he remained with Duke longer than anyone else and outlived him by only a little more than four months.

Harry Howell Carney was born in Boston on the first of April 1910 and grew up in the same neighborhood as alto saxophonists Johnny Hodges and Charlie Holmes. Together they gathered inspiration from 78-rpm jazz records. Carney cited as primary influences Sidney Bechet with Clarence Williams, Buster Bailey with Fletcher Henderson, and Don Murray with Jean Goldkette. At the age of 13, he blew clarinet with a band sponsored by the Knights of Pythias. After developing some proficiency on the alto sax, he visited New York with Holmes and gigged at the Bamboo Inn...

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