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Vintage Photo: Eddie Heywood

February 20, 2024

Vintage Photo: Eddie Heywood

February 20, 2024
Gabriela Novellino
Portrait of Eddie Heywood, Downbeat, New York, N.Y., ca. July 1947. Creator: William Paul Gottlieb. (Photo by Heritage Art/Heritage Images via Getty Images)

Eddie Heywood was a luminary of the jazz world, known not only for his technical prowess but also for his unique ability to infuse emotion and soul into every note he played. Born into a musical family in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1915, Heywood’s upbringing steeped him in the rich traditions of jazz, blues, and gospel music. He honed his skills as a pianist during his formative years, drawing inspiration from the likes of Art Tatum and Fats Waller while developing his own distinctive style marked by lyrical phrasing and exquisite harmonies.

Throughout his illustrious career, Heywood’s talent garnered widespread acclaim, earning him opportunities to perform at prestigious venues and festivals worldwide. His collaborations with some of the most celebrated figures in jazz history, such as Lester Young and Jimmy Rushing, showcased his remarkable adaptability and musical intuition. Beyond his achievements as a performer, Heywood’s compositions, characterized by their melodic beauty and sophistication, cemented his legacy as a composer of enduring significance in the jazz canon. Tracks like “Soft Summer Breeze” and “Begin the Beguine” stand as testaments to Heywood’s mastery of melody and his ability to evoke a range of emotions through his music. Eddie Heywood’s impact on jazz reverberates through the generations, reminding us of the boundless creativity and artistry that define this timeless genre.

We higly encourage you to get to know this incredible Jazz pianist by listening to some of his tunes in this fun Spotify playlist.

Gabriela Novellino

Gabs started dancing in 1995 at four years old and has never stopped. While spending a year abroad in Leeds, UK in 2012, she discovered the dances of the Jazz Age, fell hopelessly in love, and decided to dedicate her life to this passion. She acts as a dancer, teacher, choreographer, researcher, dj and event organizer primarily in Brazil, Chile, and other South American scenes. She specializes mainly in Lindy Hop, Authentic Jazz, 1920s’ Charleston and Collegiate Shag. During the pandemic, Gabs has reinvented herself in order to bring people together through dance in an online format, by hosting online classes, sharing interesting information on social media and organizing big events, such as América Latina Swings. She is also a huge history geek and loves to dig deeper into the roots of Jazz music and dance. As a guest in the culture, she honors the opportunity to share the legacy and culture of Black American artists who created this art form.

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