BIOGRAPHY AND DISCOGRAPHY

 

Former jazz sideman who got his chance to record as a leader in 1949 and immediately headed into rock ‘n’ roll to take advantage of the tenor sax revolution that was underway at the time.

Hubert “Bumps” Myers was born in Virginia in 1912 but moved to Los Angeles as a child and which became his home base of operations as a musician starting in 1929. Though he had little formal training he was well-regarded for his ability over time and was heavily influenced by Coleman Hawkins. After traveling to China for an 18 month stay with Buck Clayton and Teddy Weatherspoon in the mid-1930’s he returned to Los Angeles found work in Les Hite’s band after Hite had been badly injured in an auto accident and began to get noticed more.

In time he played in the bands of a host of major artists, though never for very long, including Lionel Hampton, Benny Carter, Lester Young and his brother Lee, Sid Catlett, Benny Goodman and Jimmie Lunceford. He showed his versatility when he began backing bluesman T-Bone Walker in the studio in 1947 on what was considered by many to be Walker’s most indelible sessions.

With rock ‘n’ roll making increasing headway commercially, most notably with honking tenor sax performances, Myers signed with newly formed Selective Records in the spring of 1949 and cut a mix of rock tracks and lighter pop-jazz but it was the rock sides which were pushed. Though they weren’t big sellers he continued in this vein for other labels including RPM and Dootsie Williams’ Blu Records, where he got lead artist credit while Robins vocalist Bobby Nunn handled the singing. Fellow sax player Maxwell Davis who was also the biggest producer in L.A. in the 1950’s frequently employed Myers to play on sessions including some excellent sides by Percy Mayfield in mid-decade.

Though he kept his hand in other styles, playing with bassist Red Callender in 1952 and behind Harry Belafonte at the peak of his popularity in 1958 for instance, but the sax revolution in rock was dying out by the end of the decade and after a stint with Horace Henderson in the early 1960s Myers retired for health reasons, dying at the age of 56 in 1968.
 

BUMPS MYERS DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):

BUMPIN’ WITH BUMPS
(Selective 101; May, 1949)
Solid no-frills sax instrumental with Myers standing out during the extended middle section exhibiting great tone and a rougher edge to his playing, but the group horns that bookend it aren’t quite up to matching him in order to make the record stand out. (5)

MEMPHIS HOP
(Selective 106; August, 1949)
Both Myers and the song’s writer, guitarist Tiny Webb, are brilliant here but a wheezing baritone sax that follows them drags this down from near perfection leaving you frustrated and asking what might’ve been had that solo been able to match theirs. (7)