Herb Ellis Day

August 4, 1921 – March 28, 2010

Georgia on My Mind

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Guitarist Mitchell Herbert “Herb” Ellis was born on August 4th, 1921 in Farmersville, Texas.

After touring with various swing bands, Ellis joined pianist Oscar Peterson and bassist Ray Brown to form the Oscar Peterson Trio.

At a time when jazz was still highly segregated, a white man (Ellis) playing with two black artists generated much controversy and criticism.

Ellis is best known for his participation in this ensemble, but can be heard on recordings as a leader and sideman as well.

Herb had already become a formidable instrumentalist by the time he was attending North Texas State University and when was forced to leave school for financial reasons he left to tour with a band from the University of Kansas.

Following a stay with Glen Gray and the “Casa Loma Orchestra” in 1943 where he first gained recognition, Herb Ellis joined Jimmy Dorsey’s band with whom he recorded his first solos and traveled extensively.

During the late ’40s he collaborated with John Frigo and Lou Carter forming the “Soft Winds” a group which composed the classic standard “Detour Ahead.”

In 1997 Herb Ellis received an honorary Doctorate from the University of North Texas College of Music.

Herb Ellis is featured playing a guitar rendition of “Georgia on My Mind” in 2008.


Herb Ellis, guitar
Tal Farlow, guitar
Charlie Byrd, guitar


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