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Wardell Gray's In the Land of Oo-Bla-Dee

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Album Review

This very interesting LP features tenor saxophonist Wardell Gray as a sideman with the big bands of Earl Hines, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, and Louie Bellson, plus small groups led by Billy Eckstine and Bellson. Covering virtually his entire short career, the album is full of rarities (particularly the Hines numbers) and has among its highlights "The Hucklebuck," "Little Pony" (a classic with Basie) and "The Jeep Is Jumping."

Biography

Born: 13 February 1921 in Oklahoma City, OK

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s

Wardell Gray was one of the top tenors to emerge during the bop era (along with Dexter Gordon and Teddy Edwards). His Lester Young-influenced tone made his playing attractive to swing musicians as well as younger modernists. He grew up in Detroit, playing in local bands as a teenager. Gray was with Earl Hines during 1943-1945, recording with him (1945). That same year, he moved to Los Angeles and he became a major part of the Central Avenue scene, having nightly tenor battles with Dexter Gordon;...
Full Bio