The Eddie Heywood Sextet
was very popular in the mid-'40s, playing melodic and tightly arranged versions of swing standards. Heywood
's father, Eddie Heywood, Sr., was a strong jazz pianist of the 1920s who often accompanied Butterbeans and Susie
. He taught piano to his son, who played professionally when he was 14. Heywood Jr.
performed with bands led by Wayman Carver
(1932), Clarence Love (1934-1937), and, after moving to New York, Benny Carter
led his own group from that period on, backing Billie Holiday
on a few occasions starting in 1941. In 1943, Eddie Heywood
took several classic solos on a Coleman Hawkins
quartet date (most notably "The Man I Love") and put together his first sextet, which also included Doc Cheatham
and Vic Dickenson
. Their 1944 version of "Begin the Beguine" became a hit, and three years of strong success followed. During 1947-1950, Heywood
was stricken with a partial paralysis of his hands and could not play at all. He made a gradual comeback in the 1950s, mostly performing watered-down commercial music in addition to composing the standard "Canadian Sunset." Despite a second attack of paralysis in the late '60s, Eddie Heywood
continued performing into the 1980s.