The Life and Times of Cozy Eggleston and His Jazz Band
When jazz evolved in the United States there were many genres such as Bebop and Hard Bop. Cozy Eggleston was born in the small town of Cairo, Illinois. He was a self-taught saxophonist who had high aspirations to become a successful jazz musician. Cozy came along in the era when saxophonist Lester "The Prez" Young was "Boss on the scene." "Prez" became Cozy's idol the day they met.Cozy wrote a song called "Big Heavy." During that time jazz music was really popping. Cozy's song "Big Heavy," became a giant hit! Cozy decided to travel cross country with his wife Marie, who played alto sax, to promote his trending hit. There was a problem, however. This loving couple had two precocious toddlers and a cuddly infant baby girl with an insatiable appetite. Who on earth could care for this precious cargo?In those days, musicians traveled in caravans across the country to various gigs. They faced many challenges along the way. However, it didn't deter them from giving their audience a phenomenal jazz experience! They continued their travels on those dark, lonely, and what proved to be treacherous, roads. Many nights they would drive, perform, and then drive some more in search of a place to rest. No matter how strange and uncomfortable their sleeping arrangement, Cozy always found a way to "cozy-up" to Marie. Cozy and Marie had a life-altering event, later in their blissful journey, that would change their lives forever! From its beginning to now, jazz continues to flourish through new categories such as modern and smooth jazz. Thanks to musicians like Cozy, "Prez", and many others, today's jazz musicians are keeping it "all-the-way live!"
-- Connie J. Eggleston MSW, CPM