Harry "Sweets" Edison, 83, a master of the jazz trumpet who was a mainstay of the Count Basie Orchestra and who accompanied singers such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, died of prostate cancer July 27 in his native Columbus, Ohio.
Mr. Edison joined the Count Basie Orchestra in the mid-1930s when he was 18 and became a featured soloist. Basie saxophonist Lester Young dubbed him "Sweets" because of the pleasing tone of his horn.
Mr. Edison stayed with Basie until about 1950 before heading off to perform with his own quintet. He recorded his own albums--notably "Sweets for the Sweet Taste Of Love"--accompanied Frank Sinatra as a studio musician and worked with Benny Carter on movie soundtracks.
Over the years, he played with most of the famous big bands, including those of Buddy Rich, Quincy Jones, Louis Bellson, Henry Mancini and Nelson Riddle.
He taught music seminars at Yale University in the Duke Ellington Fellowship Program, and he was honored as a "master musician" with a 1991 National Endowment for the Arts Award.
Mr. Edison was known among jazz fans for his individual style, phrasing and articulation. A few riffs were so closely associated with his playing that other musicians waited for their appearance whenever he stood up to solo.
He rarely disappointed them, always recasting the brief, familiar melodies--especially his trademark riff, a phrase that usually began with eight repeated notes followed by a slithery descending line--with a new twist.
After working with Basie, he toured with Jazz at the Philharmonic in the 1950s and was musical director for entertainer Josephine Baker. He traveled to Europe and South America with Rich and then settled in Los Angeles. It was then that he started working for Riddle and his top client, Sinatra. He is heard on many Sinatra albums, such as "Songs for Swinging Lovers."
In the 1960s and '70s, Mr. Edison did scores for television shows and films. His work was prominently featured in the soundtrack of "Lady Sings the Blues," the story of Billie Holiday.
From 1973 on, he frequently acted as musical director for Redd Foxx on theater dates, at concerts and in Las Vegas. In the '70s, he also teamed with saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis for a number of dates.
Mr. Edison worked right up until last month. He traveled to Europe in the spring and was scheduled to perform next weekend in Long Beach, Calif.
Survivors include a daughter.