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Don Ewell

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Don Ewell (November 14, 1916 – August 9, 1983) was an American jazz stride pianist born in Baltimore, Maryland, perhaps best known for his work with several prominent New Orleans–based musicians such as Sidney Bechet, Kid Ory, George Lewis, George Brunis, Muggsy Spanier and Bunk Johnson.
From 1956 to 1962, Ewell was a leading member of the Jack Teagarden band. Following Teagarden’s death Ewell did some European tours, and then moved back to New Orleans and played clubs and hotels there.

A major if underrated stride pianist, Don Ewell was inspired by Jelly Roll Morton and Earl Hines, but could stride like Fats Waller, too. He started leading his own trios in Baltimore in the mid-’30s; played during the New Orleans jazz revival (starting in the mid-’40s) with Bunk Johnson, Muggsy Spanier, Sidney Bechet, and Kid Ory (1953); and was with Jack Teagarden during 1957-1964. Ewell sometimes played duets with the weakening Willie “the Lion” Smith in the late ’60s before moving to New Orleans, where he worked regularly during his last years. He recorded for Good Time Jazz (three 1956-1957 dates are available on CD), GHB/Audiophile/Jazzology, Delmark, Fat Cat’s Jazz, and Chiaroscuro; previously unreleased sets were issued posthumously by Stomp Off and Pumpkin.

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