A big band arranger and reed player who is mostly known for his membership in several of the great Earl Hines bands of the '20s and '30s, Cecil Irwin unfortunately got a spot in the section of the musical graveyard devoted to those who perished on the road. A traffic accident that occurred outside of Des Moines, IA, while he was on tour claimed his life, cutting short a career that was loaded with promise.
Following gigs with the bands of Carroll Dickerson, Erskine Tate, and Junie Cobb, Irwin joined Hines in 1928 as a tenor saxophonist and arranger. He has credits on more than a dozen different releases by the pianist and bandleader in which his work in both capacities is on display. He also did some freelancing out of the Hines band, showing up on sessions by New Orleans clarinetist Johnny Dodds and trumpeters Jabbo Smith and King Oliver. He can also be heard on a jazz violin anthology, featuring Stephane Grappelli and Joe Venuti, on the EPM label.