Jazz bassist Eldee Young dies

the man who touched my heart and made me cry has passed away… Rest in Peace.


Jeremy Monteiro and the late Eldee Young
Originally uploaded by yl.

The 71-year-old musician is remembered for his contributions to the jazz scene in South-east Asia

Sujin Thomas
Music Reporter

Renowned Chicago jazz bassist Eldee Young who made his mark in the music scene in the 1960s with the Grammy-winning Ramsey Lewis Trio has died.

The 71-year-old, who was staying at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit in Bangkok, was found unconscious by hotel staff in his room shortly after 6am (Singapore time) yesterday.

The American, who has a strong following among locals and tourists, had been performing at the five-star hotel’s Living Room lounge since November as the latest in a series of five-month stints there.

Mr Christopher Chung, the director of sales and marketing at The Sheraton, says:”We can confirm that Eldee died this morning but we do not know his cause of death. We have to wait for the autopsy results.”

Singapore jazz pianist Jeremy Monteiro, a close friend of Young’s for over two decades, was dumbfounded when he received a call from the hotel yesterday.

“I spoke to Eldee over the phone on Monday. He sounded weak. He was talking about coming to Singapore in a couple of weeks to perform,” says the 46-year-old Monteiro who is currently in Singapore.

Young was scheduled to do a two-week stint playing with Monteiro at the Regent Hotel here later this month before flying off to India for another series of gigs.

The two even planned to meet up again in Chicago in March to “hang out and jam”.

Monteiro says that Young hand undergone a hernia operation at Bangkok’s Bumrungrad Hospital two weeks ago and headed back to work just two days later.

“He went back to work too soon, I feel,” added Monteiro.

Arrangements are being made to send his body back to Chicago where he is survived by his wife Barbara and three sons – Eldevon, Tyree and Marcus. His sons are all in their 40s and 50s and are not musicians.

Young is known as one of the premiere jazz bassists of the 1950s and 1960s. Together with pianist Ramsey Lewis and drummer Isaac “Redd” Lewis, they formed the Ramsey Lewis Trio which released their debut album in 1956.

They went on to win a Grammy Award in 1966 under the category of Best Jazz Instrumental Album for The In Crowd.

Over the decades, Young has performed and worked with other legendary musicians such as T-Bone Walker, James Moody, Dinah Washington and Dizzy Gillespie.

But he is also remembered for his contributions to the jazz scene in South-East Asia, particularly in Thailand and Singapore. He performaned stint ranging between two and six months at Somerset’s Bar from 1986 to 2000.

“He was one of the earliest Chicago jazz musicians to play here and is familiar to Singapore audiences,” said Mr Eddie CHan, 67, co-owners of Jazz@Southbridge at Boat Quay, who first watched Young perform here in the late 1980s.

“He had an entertaining spirit and would add comedy as part of his performances.”

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2 Responses to Jazz bassist Eldee Young dies

  1. I hope I can live that old and still be full of life. To be able to write or whatever makes me happy at that time. He must have really loved his music. And don’t most musicians have a passion that goes beyond what the average person does. It is a job, but also a time to embrace artistry and share joy of music with others.

  2. I hope I can live that old and still be full of life. To be able to write or whatever makes me happy at that time. He must have really loved his music. And don’t most musicians have a passion that goes beyond what the average person does. It is a job, but also a time to embrace artistry and share joy of music with others.

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