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Sedric, Gene (actually, Eugene Hall; aka “Honey Bear”)

Sedric, Gene (actually, Eugene Hall; aka “Honey Bear”)

Sedric, Gene (actually, Eugene Hall; aka “Honey Bear”) , jazz tenor saxophonist, clarinetist; b. St. Louis, Mo., June 17, 1907; d. N.Y., April 3, 1963. His delightful work was a highlight of many Fats Waller recordings. Sedric gained his nickname in the 1930s; at the time, he wore an exotic camel-hair overcoat. His father, Paul ‘Con Con’ Sedric, was a professional ragtime pianist. As a boy, he played in the local Knights of Pythias Band. In the early 1920s, he worked with Charlie Creath, Fate Marable, Dewey Jackson, Ed Allen (late 1922-fall 1923), and then, in September 1923, he joined Julian Arthur’s Band, accompanying Jimmy Cooper’s “Black and White Revue.” During 1924-early 1925, he gigged in N.Y. until joining Sam Wooding. Sedric sailed to Europe with Wooding in May 1925, and remained with Wooding until October 1931 when the band temporarily disbanded. He returned to N.Y. and played again with Wooding in the summer of 1932. After a brief spell with Fletcher Henderson, Sedric performed with Fats Waller from 1934—42. During Fats Waller’s solo tours, Sedric worked with various bands, including Mezz Mezzrow’s Disciples of Swing (November 1937) and Don Redman (1938–39). From the mid-19403 to the early 1950s, he led his own small groups in N.Y. and on the road, except for a period in mid-1943 when he was sidetracked by illness, and brief periods in late 1944 when he performed with the Phil Moore Four and with the Hazel Scott Show in late 1945. In the spring of 1951 he toured with Bobby Hackett’s Band, then after a spell with Jimmy McPartland, he sailed to Europe in February 1953 to tour with Mezz Mezzrow. From August 1953, he worked regularly in a band led by Conrad Janis in N.Y., and did many freelance recording sessions. Illness forced him to give up playing for the last 18 months of his life.

—John Chilton , Who’s Who of Jazz/Lewis Porter

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