George Sylvester "Red" Callender (March 6, 1916 – March 8, 1992) was a jazz bass and tuba player, famous for turning down a chance to work with Duke Ellington's Orchestra and the Louis Armstrong All-Stars. Callender was born in Haynesville, Virginia. In the early 1940s, he played in the Lester and Lee Young band, and then formed his own trio. In the 1940s Callender recorded with Nat King Cole, Erroll Garner, Charlie Parker, Wardell Gray, Dexter Gordon and many others. After a period spent leading a trio in Hawaii, Callender returned to Los Angeles, becoming one of the first black musicians to work regularly in the commercial studios, including backing singer Linda Hayes on two singles. On his 1954 Crown LP Speaks Low, Callender was one of the earliest modern jazz tuba soloists. Keeping busy up until his death, some of the highlights of the bassist's later career include recording with Art Tatum and Jo Jones (1955–1956) for the Tatum Group, playing with Charles Mingus at the 1964 Monterey Jazz Festival, working with James Newton's avant-garde woodwind quintet (on tuba), and performing as a regular member of the Cheatham's Sweet Baby Blues Band. He also reached the top of the British pop charts as a member of B. Bumble and the Stingers. He died of thyroid cancer at his home in Saugus, California.
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