Teddy Bunn (1909 - 1978) was a contemporary of Eddie Lang and Lonnie Johnson and like Lang and Johnson played both blues and jazz. As early as 1929 Bunn played and recorded with the Duke Ellington band with Fred Guy on banjo. In the same year Bunn played with James P. Johnson along side another great player from that period Bernard Addison. Bunn played with many of the top jazzmen of that period on guitar or banjo and sometimes he provided vocals.
In the 1930s Bunn recorded on the guitar with the Spirits of Rhythm, a group that included a suitcase in the instrumentation and some forgotten acts like Cow Cow Davenport. He also continued his affiliation with jazz and recorded with jazzmen Jimmie Noone and Johnny Dodds. Some of the 1938 Dodds material represented some of the best examples of Bunn’s skills as a rhythm player and soloist. Dodds’ 29th and Dearborn featured Charlie Shavers and Dodds soloing over Bunn’s rhythm guitar. Wild Man Blues and Melancholy from the same session featured Bunn as soloist. That same year Bunn recorded with Tommy Ladnier and His Orchestra, a band that included players like Mezz Mezzrow, Cliff Jackson and Sidney Bechet. The late 1930s included sessions with J.C. Higginbotham, Sidney Bechet and Frank Newton.
In the early 1940s Bunn played with Hot Lips Page and recorded some material that represented some of his best blues guitar and vocals. Evil Man’s Blues had Bunn featured as guitarist and vocalist. This same year he recorded a series of solo guitar/vocal pieces for Blue Note that included Bachelor Blues and Guitar In High. Also, in this timeframe Bunn recorded on the electric guitar with Lionel Hampton on the tunes Just for Laffs and Pig Foot Sonata.
In the late 1940s Bunn played in a wide variety of venues from jazz and blues to early rock and roll with Hadda Brooks. He led his own groups that included Arnold Ross on piano and Pony Poindexter and Curtis Counce.
Sometimes overlooked in the history of jazz guitar, Teddy Bunn was a significant exponent of both blues and jazz and was one of the very best rhythm players of his time.
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