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Editors’ Notes

Los Angeles-based composer, arranger, and big band leader Gerald Wilson worked with Duke Ellington, penned “Viva Tirado,” a hit for the Latin-rock band El Chicano, and recorded a number of superb albums in the 21st century. His charts display a mastery of structure and 2011’s Legacy, another superlative effort, includes five compositions plus “Yes, Chicago is…,” a suite that pays tribute to the Windy City, where Wilson spent time in 1940s. “Variations On a Theme By Igor Stravinsky”— based on material from Firebird Suite — is a hard-swinging piece that bristles with charged energy. (Wilson also draws from classical music on “Variations On Clair de Lune” and “Variation On a Theme By Giacomo Puccini.”) The suite is a wonderful set of miniatures. “A Jazz Mecca” is delightfully lush, and pieces like “A Night at the El Grotto” and “Riffin’ At the Regal” capture the excitement of the Midwestern city. Wilson’s son, Anthony, wrote “Virgo,” an impressive longer piece marked by Anthony’s fine guitar work, and Wilson’s grandson, Eric Otis (who is the son of Shuggie Otis), contributes “September Sky,” a slow-tempo work with flute and trombone solos

Customer Reviews

Highly Recommended

Read Howard Reich's Chicago Tribune review; gave a listen and started dwnloading :)

A little disappointed....

I've followed Gerald Wilson since the 1960's.. geez, that makes him and me, well old ! Well Gerald's in his 90's and I'm not.. ok so I feel a littel better. I've listened to the enitre album twice now.. and it's just a little too bland for me. Not enuogh snap. Could be my own state of mind, right? We have to be in a certain state of mind for different styles of jazz. If you take certain cuts of certain tracks, it's great (that's how I happended to hear some of it on the radio) but as an album, it seems to lack identity. Not sorry I bought it (but......) and I will listen again (and maybe again) to see if my perspective changes. It didn't wow me, know what I mean?

...Also al little disappointed

Yes...I must agree with the review written by George Gold in this case. I too am a fan of Gerald Wilson but this release seems to be uninspired, especially The "Chicago" suite. On the positive side, there is some excellent piano work throughout and the guitar playing is outstanding! "Virgo", "Variation on Claire de Lune" & "September Sky" are all a cut above the rest. Better luck next time Mr. Wilson...I'm still a BIG fan!!


Born: September 4, 1918 in Shelby, MS

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

From time to time, Gerald Wilson seemed like one of Los Angeles' better-kept secrets, an unusually skillful, imaginative, and charismatic bandleader who hadn't received his due outside the West Coast. His arrangements were distinctive, often complex voicings and harmonies, rooted in swing and bop, yet always forward-looking and energetic in tone. He liked to play around with structures, which contributed to the restless quality in much of his music, and being a bullfight aficionado, he was one of...
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