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Gentleman of Keyboard

Teddy Wilson

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Album Review

Gentleman of Keyboard, a Giants of Jazz compilation released in 1998, is a jumbled assemblage of great jazz recordings made between May 1934 and July 1957 by pianist and bandleader Teddy Wilson (1912-1986). The list of collective personnel on this one disc is staggering, as Wilson consistently worked with innovators and individualists who decisively shaped the evolution of jazz over the years. Among literally dozens of noteworthy participants are vocalists Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald as well as tenor saxophonists Ben Webster and Lester Young. Wilson is also heard in his famous role as a member of the Benny Goodman Quartet and Sextet. Though it would take quite a number of Wilson collections to accurately demonstrate the magnitude of his contribution to the history of jazz, Gentleman of Keyboard is a good place to begin.


Born: 24 November 1912 in Austin, TX

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Teddy Wilson was the definitive swing pianist, a solid and impeccable soloist whose smooth and steady style was more accessible to the general public than Earl Hines or Art Tatum. He picked up early experience playing with Speed Webb in 1929 and appearing on some Louis Armstrong recordings in 1933. Discovered by John Hammond, Willie joined Benny Carter's band and recorded with the Chocolate Dandies later that year. In 1935, he began leading a series of classic small-group recordings with swing all-stars...
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