South, Eddie (actually, Edward Otha)

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South, Eddie (actually, Edward Otha)

South, Eddie (actually, Edward Otha), influential jazz violinist; b. Louisiana, Mo., Nov. 27, 1904; d. Chicago, April 25, 1962. His family moved to Chicago when Eddie was three months old. A child prodigy on violin, South first studied with Charles Elgar, then with Prof. Powers, was later given jazz coaching by Darnell Howard. At 16 South began working in Chicago, continuing to study at the Chicago Coll. of Music. He worked with Charles Elgar, Erskine Tate, and Mae Brady’s Orch., then became front man and musical director for Jimmy Wade’s Syncopators at Chicago’s Moulin Rouge Cafe (c. 1924). South remained with Wade until 1927, worked briefly with Erskine Tate until January 1928, with Gilbert “Little Mike” McKendrick’s Quartet, and then went to Europe with his own small group, The Alabamians. They toured several European countries; South also had extensive musical studies in Paris and Budapest. He was mostly in Chicago during the early to mid-1930s, except for a brief period in late 1932 when he was working in Calif. South returned to Europe in 1937; he played long residency at the Club des Oiseaux, Paris, appeared in Holland (early 1938), and returned to the U.S. in May 1938. He continued to lead his own groups (usually a quartet, occasionally big bands) from the late 1930s through the 1950s. South had his own radio series in the 1940s, and regular television shows from Chicago during the 1950s. He suffered from ill health for many years, but continued to work professionally until a few weeks before his death. South, who never used an amplified instrument, was known as “The Dark Angel of the Violin.”


Distinguished Violin of Eddie South (1958); Dark Angel of the Fiddle (1958).

—John Chilton\Lewis Porter

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South, Eddie (actually, Edward Otha)

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