Vinnegar, Leroy

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Vinnegar, Leroy

Vinnegar, Leroy, American bassist; b. Indianapolis, Ind., July 13, 1928. He made his reputation in the early 1950s playing in the house rhythm section of Chicago’s Beehive club, accompanying traveling musicians such as Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, Lester Young, Howard McGhee, and Johnny Griffin. He moved to Los Angeles in 1954 as Art Tatum’s substitute bassist and soon became the city’s first-call bassman. He recorded with most of L.A’s leading musicians, including tenor saxophonists Stan Getz, Teddy Edwards, and Harold Land, trumpeter Shorty Rogers, guitarist Barney Kessel, and pianists Andre Previn and Les McCann. He also recorded important sessions with Sonny Rollins, Kenny Dorham, and Phineas Newborn Jr. Television, movie, and studio work preoccupied him for much of the 1960s, though he continued to play jazz. Health problems sidelined him in the 1980s and he moved to Portland, where he has become an important part of the Pacific Northwest jazz scene.


Leroy Walks! (1957); Leroy Walks Again! (1962-63); Swiss Movement (1969); Walkin’ the Basses (1993).

—Andrew Gilbert