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On The Roll

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Album Review

The fourth and final recording by Ernie Wilkins' "Almost Big Band" (a 13-piece group including ten horns) features the leader's arrangements of five of his swinging compositions plus "Lover Man." Wilkins' pieces include several tributes ("Almost Basie," "Ode to Billy Strayhorn" and "A Little Bit of Duke") and among his better-known sidemen (all Europeans or American expatriates) are trombonist Richard Boone (who sings "B.P. Blues"), the tenors of Jesper Thilo and Bent Jaedig, baritonist Per Goldschmidt, pianist Kenny Drew and drummer Ed Thigpen. Excellent swinging music.

Biography

Born: 20 July 1922 in St. Louis, MO

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

A fine, slippery bop tenor sax player, and a creator of sharp-edged arrangements for bop and swing big bands who helped define the Count Basie Mk. II style of the 1950s, Ernie Wilkins had been a regular fixture on the American jazz scene until 1979, when he pulled up stakes and moved to Europe. He first learned piano and violin, then studied music at Wilberforce University before going into the Navy during the war. He caught on with the Earl Hines band in 1948 and worked around the St. Louis area...
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On The Roll, Ernie Wilkins
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