Leon "Chu" Berry
Saxophonist Chu Berry lived a short life, but he left behind some of the most innovative sounds played on the saxophone during his time.
Berry was influenced by Coleman Hawkins, who brought the saxophone to prominence in Jazz big bands. While Berry's style was similar to Hawkins, with the modern ear, one can hear the foundations of Jump Blues and modern R&B. He possesed a smooth tone, and could play at fast tempos with ease, but underlying these traits was a sort of soulful quality to his playing that was very much ahead of his time. He was at the forefront of many of the best big bands of the swing era including Cab Calloway, Fletcher Henderson, and Benny Carter's groups. He was killed in an automobile accident in 1941.
This week's profile of Chu Berry may be the most obscure artist spotlight we've aired to date.See Past Artist Spotlights