JazzFest History

Eddie Baccus Sr

Awarded: 1999
Born: Lawndale, North Carolina

"What Roland Kirk liked about me was that I always would practice. I would get my mind set and I never gave up. "

- Eddie Baccus, Sr.


Widely regarded as the standard bearer of Cleveland jazz, virtuoso organist Eddie Baccus, Sr. has been a leader, mentor and “the soul of the local jazz scene” since the early 1960s. He delights his fans with his distinctive “chatty” organ style. Blind nearly from birth, Baccus would become the only professional musician among his ten siblings. When the family moved to Ohio, he attended The Ohio State School for the Blind in Columbus where he befriended classmate and legendary saxophonist Roland Kirk. Impressed by Baccus’ mastery of the Hammond B-3, Kirk invited him to join his band. When Kirk moved on to the national stage, Baccus chose to stay close to Cleveland instead, touring with Tony Lovano and Ike Cole. He also extensively mentored numerous jazz musicians, notably Joe Lovano, Ernie Krivda and later his son, saxophonist Eddie Baccus, Jr.

Roland Kirk's Horns
Majestic Hotel