Bassist Ed "Montudi" Garland has serious credentials on the New Orleans jazz scene, having played with practically every parade band or jazz combo of importance. His long career began with groups such as the Imperial Orchestra, probably prior to 1910, and in the '70s, he was still active as a member of the Legends of Jazz. The man's accomplishments are exactly what was once expected of anyone playing in a rhythm section in this genre of jazz. He started out first learning drum rudiments, playing either snare or bass in parade groups. Next he switched to tuba and mellophone as a teenager, continuing the gig march. When he switched to string bass he was finally able to become involved in groups that stood still while making music, at least relatively speaking. Garland also played the brass-bass hybrid and worked with at least a half-dozen top New Orleans brass bands.
In 1914, he headed to Chicago, looking to get in on the town's growing enthusiasm for New Orleans jazz. He had his own group moving around one prominent theater circuit, backing up vocalist Mabel Lee Lane. Other Chicago affiliations included Manuel Perez, Freddie Keppard, and finally the great King Oliver. The latter bandleader kicked off the roaring '20s by exploring the west coast -- Garland stayed put out there and went to work with Kid Ory, with whom he would continue gigging off and on over the next decade. There were also engagements with Jelly Roll Morton in Los Angeles. Gardner jumped over to the combo of Andrew Blakeney in the mid-'50s but was also working with the great pianist and bandleader Earl Hines in San Francisco around the same period.
The bassist continued to be a prominent part of the west coast traditional jazz scene, the amount of work growing with the Dixieland fad of the '60s. At this point, listeners could catch Garland regularly in the bands of Turk Murphy or Joe Darensbourg at venues in both San Francisco and Los Angeles. Blakeney also continued to be a collaborator and the bassist is seen on screen in that leader's band in the 1966 melodrama Hotel. The Young Men of New Orleans band included the bassist in its 1969 lineup, and two years later, Gardner returned to his hometown to perform at the jazz festival. Gardner toured internationally with the Legends of Jazz throughout the '70s. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi