Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson (born Edward L. Vinson Jr., December 18, 1917 – July 2, 1988) was an American jump blues, jazz, bebop and R&B alto saxophonist and blues shouter. He was nicknamed Cleanhead after an incident in which his hair was accidentally destroyed by lye contained in a hair straightening product. Music critic Robert Christgau has called Vinson "one of the cleanest—and nastiest—blues voices you'll ever hear."
Eddie Vinson in May 1980.
|Birth name||Edward L. Vinson Jr.|
|Also known as||Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson|
|Born||December 18, 1917|
Houston, Texas, United States
|Died||July 2, 1988 (aged 70)|
Los Angeles, California, United States
|Genres||Jump blues, R&B, jazz|
|Occupation(s)||Saxophonist, singer, composer|
|Labels||King Records, Mercury, Black & Blue, ABC-BluesWay, Muse|
|Associated acts||Cannonball Adderley, Oscar Peterson, Etta James|
Vinson was born in Houston, Texas. He was a member of the horn section in Milton Larkin's orchestra, which he joined in the late 1930s. At various times, he sat next to Arnett Cobb, Illinois Jacquet, and Tom Archia, while other members of the band included Cedric Haywood and Wild Bill Davis. After exiting Larkin's employment in 1941, Vinson picked up a few vocal tricks while on tour with bluesman Big Bill Broonzy. He then moved to New York and joined the Cootie Williams Orchestra from 1942 to 1945, recording such tunes as "Cherry Red". Vinson struck out on his own in 1945, forming his own large band, signing with Mercury Records, and enjoying a double-sided hit in 1947 with his R&B chart-topper "Old Maid Boogie", and the song that would prove to be his signature number, "Kidney Stew Blues".
Vinson's jazz leanings were probably heightened during 1952-1953, when his band included a young John Coltrane. In the late 1960s, touring in a strict jazz capacity with Jay McShann, Vinson's career took an upswing. In the early 1960s Vinson moved to Los Angeles and began working with the Johnny Otis Revue. A 1970 appearance at the Monterey Jazz Festival with Otis spurred a bit of a comeback for Vinson. Throughout the 1970s he worked high-profile blues and jazz sessions for Count Basie, Otis, Roomful of Blues, Arnett Cobb, and Buddy Tate. He also composed steadily, including "Tune Up" and "Four", both of which have been incorrectly attributed to Miles Davis. The aforementioned single-sourced claim is contradicted by the many times Miles Davis has been credited as composer on numerous recordings.
Vinson recorded extensively during his fifty-odd year career and performed regularly in Europe and the U.S. He died in 1988, from a heart attack while undergoing chemotherapy, in Los Angeles, California.
|1957||Cleanhead's Back in Town||with Joe Newman, Henry Coker, Bill Graham, Frank Foster, Paul Quinichette, Charlie Rouse, Charles Fowlkes, Nat Pierce, Freddie Green, Turk Van Lake, Ed Jones, Gus Johnson, Ed Thigpen||Blues, Jazz||Bethlehem; Charly|
|1961 ||Cleanhead & Cannonball||with Cannonball Adderley Quintet||Blues, Jazz||Landmark; Milestone|
|1962||Back Door Blues||with Cannonball Adderley Quintet||Blues, Jazz||Riverside; Fresh Sound|
|1967||Cherry Red||with Mike Bloomfield||Blues||ABC/Bluesway; One Way|
|1969||Kidney Stew is Fine (also released as Wee Baby Blues on Black & Blue)||with T-Bone Walker and Jay McShann||Jump Blues, Swing Jazz||Delmark|
|1969 ||Live! in France||with Jay McShann||Jump Blues, Swing Jazz||Black & Blue|
|1970||The Original Cleanhead||with Artie Butler, David Cohen, Joe Pass, Arthur Wright, Earl Palmer, Plas Johnson||Blues||Bluestime/Flying Dutchman; Ace|
|1971||You Can't Make Love Alone||Live in Montreux||Blues||Mega/Flying Dutchman|
|1974 ||Jamming the Blues||Live in Montreux||Blues||Black Lion|
|1978||The "Clean" Machine||with Lloyd Glenn||Blues, Jazz||Muse|
|1978 ||Live at Sandy's (Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson and the Muse All Stars)||with Arnett Cobb and Buddy Tate||Jump Blues, Swing Jazz||Muse 5208|
|1978 ||Hold It Right There! (Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson and the Muse All Stars)||with Arnett Cobb and Buddy Tate||Jump Blues, Swing Jazz||Muse 5243|
|1979 ||Redux: Live at the Keystone Korner||with Larry Vuckovich||Blues, Jazz||Savant|
|1980||Kansas City Shout||with Count Basie and Big Joe Turner||Blues, Jazz||Pablo|
|1980||Fun in London||with John Burch, Lennie Bush, Bobby Orr||Blues, Jazz||JSP|
|1981||I Want a Little Girl||with Art Hillery, Cal Green, John Heard, Roy McCurdy, Martin Banks, Rashid Jamal Ali||Blues, Jazz||Pablo|
|1982||Mr. Cleanhead's Back in Town||with Stan Greig, Les Davidson, Paul Sealey, Martin Guy||Blues, Jazz||JSP|
|1982||Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson & Roomful of Blues||with Roomful of Blues||Blues, Jump Blues||Muse; Rockbeat|
|1986||Blues in the Night Volume One: The Early Show||Live in Los Angeles with Etta James||Blues||Fantasy|
|1986 ||The Late Show: Blues in the Night, Volume 2||Live in Los Angeles with Etta James||Blues||Fantasy|
|1987||Oscar Peterson + Harry Edison + Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson||with Oscar Peterson and Harry "Sweets" Edison||Jazz||Pablo|
|1996||Kidney Stew (The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions)||with T-Bone Walker and Jay McShann||Jump Blues, Swing Jazz||Black & Blue|
|2003||Bald Headed Blues (His Complete King Recordings 1949-1952)||compilation||Jump Blues||Ace|
|2006||Honk for Texas (1942-1954)||with Cootie Williams and Big Jim Wynn; 4CD box set; compilation||Jump Blues||JSP|
|2007||Blues, Boogie & Bebop – Meat's Too High||compilation of Fun in London and Mr. Cleanhead's Back in Town||Blues, Jazz||JSP|
|2008||Jumpin' the Blues (The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions)||with Jay McShann||Jump Blues, Swing Jazz||Black & Blue|
|2019||Mr. Cleanhead Blows His Greatest Hits (Selected Singles 1944-1950)||compilation||Jump Blues||Jasmine|
With Oliver Nelson
With Arnett Cobb and the Muse All Stars
- Live at Sandy's! (Muse 5191, 1978 [rel. 1980])
- More Arnett Cobb and the Muse All Stars (Live at Sandy's!) (Muse 5236, 1978 [rel. 1983])
With Buddy Tate and the Muse All Stars
- Live at Sandy's (Muse 5198, 1978 [rel. 1980])
- Hard Blowin' (Live at Sandy's) (Muse 5249, 1978 [rel. 1984])
With Helen Humes and the Muse All Stars
- Helen Humes and the Muse All Stars (Muse 5217, 1978 [rel. 1980]) - with Arnett Cobb and Buddy Tate
- Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 1-904041-96-5.
- Otis, Johnny. Upside Your Head!: Rhythm and Blues on Central Avenue, Wesleyan University Press, page 34, (1993) - ISBN 0-8195-6287-4
- Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: V". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 21, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
- Vladimir, Bogdanov. All Music Guide to the Blues: The Definitive Guide to the Blues, Backbeat Books, page 571, (2002) - ISBN 0-87930-736-6
- Koster, Rick. Texas Music, St. Martin's Press, page 319, (2000) - ISBN 0-312-25425-3
- Doc Rock. "The 1980s". The Dead Rock Stars Club. Retrieved 2015-10-07.