Biography/Background/Resume

 

Hello, I’m Eddie Ambrose. Before we go any further I would like to thank you for taking some time to let me tell you a little about myself.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, and I was given my father’s love of music and some of his talent to play Piano. At the age of 5 I started studying piano but lost interest because my feet wouldn’t touch the pedals.  I switched to Cleveland, Ohio’s favorite instrument, the accordion, which to this day is a well kept secret because of my love of Jazz. Anyway I guess the secret’s out now. Actually it’s a very good Jazz instrument. My parents supported me by encouraging me to perform in a mobile show, called  “The Show Wagon. It went from playground to playground all over the city with a volunteer adult band on the back of a truck that folded out to a stage with lighting and PA system. All the performers were children: singers, dancers, musicians, jugglers, and baton twirlers, what a great way to spend summer. I guess

 I was “on the road” at an early age.

 

My accordion teacher is responsible for my ability to transpose easily, since part of the lesson each week was to play 4 songs in 5 different keys each. That was tough at 7 and 8 years old.

 

When I got to “Junior High School” (that’s 7th grade) I started studying Contra Bass to play in the school orchestra, mostly because that’s what was needed. I soon grew to love this instrument as well, and studied with a member of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. Eventually I was able to become a member of the Cleveland All City Orchestra which was for Junior High and High School students.

 

My first paying gig at 11 ½ years old was on New Year’s Eve with my Dad, and I think I earned $15.00. Big money for a young Bass player! By 14 I had my own band and worked gigs all the way through high school. My parents helped me buy a Cordovox (A combination accordion and organ ). This was all before synthesizers and midi existed.

 

When I got to high school, the band needed some Brass players so my band director asked and I studied French horn, again a new area of music to love.

I was given the opportunity to be a part of the All Ohio Boys Band that performed every year at the Ohio State Fair.

 

 

I attended Ohio State University as a Music major and member of both the Symphony Orchestra and in the Ohio State Marching band for 3 years. During these years my love of the Hammond B-3 organ was awakened by working for Mr. Rusty Bryant. His small band recording of Night Train made him a legend. Rusty’s organist showed me around the B-3, and it was love at first touch, even though I had been trying to sneak into Blues & Jazz clubs since high school. If you got caught, you just stood outside and listened.

 

My long time high school friend and room mate in college introduced me to other areas of Jazz. Everything from The Count, The Duke, Stan Kenton and Maynard Ferguson, to Miles, Oscar, Freddie, Ray, and the MJQ. During this time I worked for a man who helped me decide that music was and is my life. We are still in touch to this day. He just celebrated his 82nd birthday.

Happy Birthday Joe!  During some of our travels I had the opportunity to meet and/or perform with Nat King Cole, Steve & Edie, George Shearing, and Brenda Lee.

 

Uncle Sam decided it was time for me to serve my country in 1968. Back then you were drafted and served a minimum of 2 years. I still wanted to be a musician, tried to get into one of the Army bands, but was ordered to come to California and train our men as a D. I. As a result, I knew some day I would make California my home.

 

1970-1977 was a great time in my life. I started out in Cocoa Beach, Florida being part of a “show band” whose leader owned the nite club, and went on to become Mayor. The band was great, the show was good and the place was the main hang out for astronauts in training or between missions, since it was the “best show in town”. We had Buddy Rich in concert with his band, and Alan Shephard, John Glen and their families, friends and colleagues in the audience. During that 1st year, I purchased my first Hammond B-3.

From 1971-1977, with a brief 6 months in Phoenix and 6 months in Hawaii, where I did some recording playing “key bass”. It was on the road, build the show, write the arrangements, and conduct for Kathryn Chase. Quartet, 8 piece band, & 16 piece band, from Florida to Minnesota, from Iowa to Texas, from New Jersey to Tennessee, and New Orleans appearing in some of the finest hotels and resorts. The Fairmount Hotels, Playboy Club, Harrah’s Resorts, The Golden Nugget, MGM Grand, and Caesar’s Palace, to name a few.   We shared the stage with Kenny Rogers, B.B. King, Buddy Greco, Sam Butera, and culminated the band’s career as the opening act for Frank Sinatra Sr.

 

 

I’ve had many people come up and ask:

Where do I know you from?”

 

So here is a partial list of places and people I’ve worked for and with since I moved to Orange County from Las Vegas, Nevada in 1978. I was still “on the road” arranging & conducting for “The Kathryn Chase Show” in Reno at the MGM Hotel & Las Vegas at The Golden Nugget.

During this time I had the good fortune to meet and become arranger/conductor for “The Incredible Miss Judy Bell”. We appeared in several local show clubs including The Playboy Club (Century City, Ca & Columbus, Oh), The Dal Ray ( Fullerton, Ca), Lakeside Restaurant, (Newport Beach, Ca) (now the Pacific Club), Barnaby’s (Redondo Beach, Ca) to name a few. Judy has since become one of the headliners of “The Follies” in Palm Springs, Ca for the last 11 seasons.

 

I was finally able to get back to my 1st love, playing Jazz & Blues, when I joined the “Lido Jazz All Stars” In that 3 ½ years we recorded an album, a video, and won the final as part of the Playboy Jazz Search.  

 

After the Cafe Lido, I was blessed to work for and with many fine talented performers and musicians that are just too many to mention. Please send an e-mail if you would like to know more.

 

In 1999, I was called to start working for God through my music again. Now as I play, write, arrange or record music, I do it all to give honor to the One who gave me the talents I have been given.  At the same time He gave me a new area to explore, recording, and all of its complexities. Each day is a new learning experience and I am again blessed to be surrounded by friends to learn from and share new discoveries with. Finally He has blessed me with    a wife, Judy, who is also my best friend, whose love supports me in all that I do. This has been the most fruitful time in my life, musically, and spiritually, and I only see more progress as each day bestows its blessing on me.

It is now 2012 my wife Judy & I have moved to Surprise, Arizona. We will be re-opening my recording studio and entering a new chapter of our life together. Spiritually, emotionally, personally, and musically.

 

Thank You

             Ed Ambrose