Bostic was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He turned professional at age 18 when he joined Terrence Holder's 'Twelve Clouds of Joy'. He made his first recording with Lionel Hampton in 1942 where he played along with Red Allen, J. C. Higginbotham, Sid Catlett, Teddy Wilson and Hampton. Before that he performed with Fate Marable on New Orleans riverboats. Bostic graduated from Xavier University in New Orleans. He worked with territory bands as well as Arnett Cobb, Hot Lips Page, Rex Stewart, Don Byas, Charlie Christian, Thelonious Monk, Edgar Hayes, Cab Calloway, and other jazz luminaries. In 1938, and in 1944, Bostic led the house band at Small's Paradise. While playing at Small's Paradise, he doubled on guitar and trumpet. During the early 1940s, he was a well respected regular at the famous jam sessions held at Minton's Playhouse. He formed his own band in 1945, and turned to rhythm and blues in the late 1940s. His biggest hits were "Temptation," "Sleep," "Flamingo," "You Go to My Head" and "Cherokee." At various times his band included Jaki Byard, John Coltrane, Benny Golson, Blue Mitchell, Stanley Turrentine, Tommy Turrentine, Keter Betts, Sir Charles Thompson, Teddy Edwards, Tony Scott, Benny Carter and other musicians who rose to prominence in jazz.
Bostic's signature hit, "Flamingo" was recorded in 1951 and remains a favorite among followers of Carolina Beach Music in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
Bostic's King album titled Jazz As I Feel It featured Shelly
Manne on drums, Joe Pass on guitar and Groove Holmes on organ. Bostic recorded A New Sound about one month later again featuring Holmes and Pass. These recordings allowed Bostic to stretch out beyond the 3 minute limit imposed by the 45 RPM format. Bostic was pleased with the sessions which highlight his total mastery of the blues but they also foreshadowed musical advances that were later evident in the work of John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy.
He wrote arrangements for Paul Whiteman, Louis Prima, Lionel Hampton, Gene Krupa, Artie Shaw, Hot Lips Page, Jack Teagarden, Ina Ray Hutton and Alvino Rey. His songwriting hits include "Let Me Off Uptown" performed by Anita O'Day and Roy Eldridge and "Brooklyn Boogie" which featured Louis Prima and members of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
During the early 1950s Bostic lived with his wife in Addisleigh Park where many other jazz stars made their home. After that he moved to Los Angeles where he concentrated on writing arrangements after suffering a heart attack.
In February 1959 Bostic was voted No. 2 jazz alto sax in the Playboy jazz poll over leading saxists including Cannonball Adderley and Sonny Stitt. He recorded an inimitable version of All The Things You Are released on the Playboy label. In August 1959, he performed at the famous Playboy Jazz Festival in Chicago on the same bill as the major jazz stars of the time. He returned to performing in 1959, but didn't record quite as extensively; when he did record in the '60s, his sessions were more soul-jazz than the proto-R&B of old.
Bostic died from a heart attack in Rochester, New York, while performing with his band in 1965. That is the story of Earl Bostic, alto sax star of the R & B years. He is another one of those who never experienced the huge successes of the music he helped create, but one we are fortunate to have added his contribution to the music we love. (info mainly edited from Wikipedia)