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The Everest Years

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Album Review

Arranger Ernie Wilkins' two Everest LPs, Here Comes the Swingin' Mr. Wilkins and The Big New Band of the '60s, are reissued in full on this single CD. Recording during 1959-1960, Wilkins used an overlapping personnel of Count Basie members (both past and of the time), some of the top jazz-oriented studio players, and various miscellaneous jazz musicians. There is no way that this could have been a full-time big band, not with such soloists as Duke Ellington's tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves, trumpeters Clark Terry and Thad Jones, and the Basie players, but Wilkins' swinging arrangements gave his short-lived orchestra its own sound. The weak point to the program is that all of the selections clock in around three minutes apiece, which was unnecessary by the late '50s, resulting in all of the solos being very brief. However, the music is easily enjoyable, making this set recommended to fans of swinging big bands.

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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The Everest Years, Ernie Wilkins
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