The great players of a certain generation are leaving us in body, although what remains in sound and memory will outlive us all. I remember Eddie Locke as one of the anchors of Roy Eldridge’s band at Jimmy Ryan’s, at various concerts and gigs across New York City — cheerful, energetic, musically attuned, a disciple of the Master, Papa Jo Jones. And what better tribute could he have had then to be chosen by Coleman Hawkins for the rhythm section?
Like Ruby Braff, Eddie should — if art is measured by the calendar — have been a vigorous bopper, playing alongside Clifford Brown rather than Willie the Lion Smith. But he followed that four-beat rhythm he had heard in the Forties. It sustained him and he sustained every group he played with.
Eddie will be missed! But photographer John Herr caught a beaming Eddie in June 2008: a treasure.