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Exploring America's Classical Music with GERALD WILSON The Preeminent Jazz Orchestra Composer and Bandleader

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THE ART OF JAZZ VOCALESE


GEORGE V JOHNSON JR

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Click link below - listen to the historic 2 hr interview with The Legendary Gerald Wilson, George V Johnson Jr & Co-host Dr. Larry Ridley


Born in Shelby Mississippi in 1918 Gerald Wilson knew early on that he was going to be a musician. While living in Detroit he studied harmony and orchestration at Cass Tech in addition to working on his trumpet chops. ...



GERALD WILSON
Official Site


Born: September 4, 1918 - Back in 1939, Gerald Wilson joined the



Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra as a trumpet soloist and an arranger. 66 years later, Wilson is still very active, having long been considered one of the top arrangers, composers and big band leaders in the history of jazz. 86 as of this writing, he has lost none of his enthusiasm, skills or creativity, and still manages to sound quite modern.

Throughout his career, Gerald Wilson has received incredible acclaim, including winning the Downbeat International Critics Poll both as a composer/arranger and for his big band,


and winning the Paul Robeson Award, the NEA American Jazz Masters Fellowship, and a pair of American Jazz Awards. He has been elected to the Mississippi Jazz Hall of Fame, has had his life's work archived by the Library of Congress

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and has earned six Grammy® nominations. But his real legacy is his music itself.



Gerald Wilson 'Miles Stone' on Frankly Jazz
Gerald Wilson and the making of 'Monterey Moods'
Gerald Wilson - Viva Tirado
Gerald Wilson - California Soul 7" 45 DJ K-Tel

Gerald Wilson - A Jazz Composer Arranger Sui Generis

To follow up on his critically acclaimed Mack Avenue debut, “New York, New Sound” (one of the Grammy nods), Wilson returned to Manhattan to lead an all-star big band through the ten tunes featured on “In My Time.” The centerpieces of the project are the three selections--“Dorian.” “Ray's Vision at the U,” and “Blues For Manhattan”--that comprise the suite titled “The Diminished Triangle.” “ ‘The Diminished Triangle’ is the study of diminished chords,” explains Wilson. “We have three diminished chords which add up to 12 different notes, and all musicians study the 12 tones. By using the diminished triangle many different ways, one can get a lot of different harmonic sounds. This suite gave me the opportunity to use a lot of eight-part harmony.”


Commissioned by The California Institute for the Preservation of Jazz, and supported by a generous grant from the

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National Endowment for the Arts, and marshaled by Cal State Long Beach educator Ray Briggs (for whom “Ray's Vision at the U” was named), “The Diminished Triangle” was debuted at Cal State L.A. on April 2, 2005.

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Purchase CD "IN MY TIME"

Every selection on “In My Time” is filled with a sense of exhilaration, dense and distinctive harmonies, and stirring solos. “Sax Chase,” which in the 1980s was known as “Triple Chase,” showcases Wilson's talents as an arranger, and features stirring saxophone solos from Ron Blake, Steve Wilson, Kamasi Washington, Gary Smulyan and Dustin Cicero. On “Blues For Manhattan” Wilson explained that he utilized five-part harmony for the sax section, so that each player is performing a harmony of the melodic line without any doubling. One of the highlights on “Lomelin,” written for the great bullfighter Antonio Lomelin, is a dramatic trumpet solo from Jon Faddis. As evidence that Wilson’s music is inherently connected to his life, “AEN” is named after his son, guitarist Anthony Wilson, and for his two grandsons, Eric and Nicholas, while “Musette,” which includes a beautiful guitar solo from Russell Malone, was named after a poodle given to Gerald's three daughters. Also on this memorable project are Wilson's “Jeri” (named after his first-born daughter) and reworkings of Miles Davis' “So What” and Cole Porter’s “Love For Sale.” “I originally wrote an arrangement for 'Love For Sale' in 1953, using

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Jerry Dodgion on lead alto. 52 years later, I got to use him again on the new version.” Among the other soloists heard from along the way are trumpeters Jimmy Owens, Sean Jones and Jeremy Pelt, trombonist Luis Bonilla and pianist Renee Rosnes.

“The musicians in the band were really into the music and they are brilliant players,” enthused Wilson. “They are at home everywhere they are, in every bar of music.” The same can be said for the veteran bandleader.



Born in Shelby, Mississippi in 1918, Gerald Wilson knew early on that he was going to be a musician. While living in Detroit, he studied harmony and orchestration at Cass Tech in addition to working on his trumpet chops. In 1939, when he got the call to join



Jimmie Lunceford's orchestra, he was ready. “When I got a chance to join them,” remembers Wilson, “I was thrilled to death.


The Jimmie Lunceford band was at the top of the heap at the time and they could outdraw everyone. They had such creative arrangements by Edwin Wilcox, Sy Oliver and Eddie Durham, and their musicians were very good. I made my first arrangements for them, “Yard Dog Mazurka” and “Hi Spook.”

After a few years gaining recognition for his work with Lunceford and after serving a stint with the U.S. Navy, Wilson settled in Los Angeles.


He wrote and played trumpet for Benny Carter and Les Hite and led his own big band during 1944-47, making his first recordings as a leader.



Despite the success of the first Gerald Wilson Orchestra, he decided to break up the band in 1947 and further his musical studies. Wilson knew that there would be time for other big bands, and he has always wanted to learn as much as possible about harmony and orchestration, and developing his own writing style.


In 1948 Wilson joined the Count Basie Orchestra for two years,


and in 1950 he joined the Dizzy Gillespie big band as a trumpet player and arranger, where his contributions included his composition “Couldn't Love, Couldn't Cry.” In the 1950s he became very active as an arranger and orchestrator not only in jazz, but also for popular singers of the time and in commercial music.


Among those he wrote for were Duke Ellington (including a classic arrangement of “Perdido” in 1951),






The Great "Little Jimmy Scott"


Billy Holiday



Sarah Vaughan,


Ray Charles,


Julie London,


Bobby Darin,


Carmen McRae,



Ella Fitzgerald,


Nancy Wilson and countless others.


He also wrote symphonic compositions that were performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the direction of Zubin Mehta, including the extended work “5/21/72,”


and was the conductor and music director for the ABC variety program The Redd Foxx Show. “I did so much commercial work for so many years. I can't even count the amount of arrangements that I wrote. It's just in the last few years that I stopped doing commercial work altogether and have stuck completely to jazz. It takes a lifetime to be a jazz musician.”


Gerald Wilson, who eventually gave up playing trumpet to concentrate on his writing, became particularly famous in the jazz world through his series of classic big band recordings for the Pacific Jazz label in the 1960s including “You Better Believe It,” “Moment Of Truth,” “Portraits,” “On Stage” and “The Golden Sword.” His catchy “Viva Tirado” became a top 40 pop hit in 1970 when recorded by El Chicano. He also hosted a daily jazz program on Los Angeles' KBCA in the early 1970s and taught jazz history for 13 years at California State University Northridge, and for six years at Cal State L.A., and now still teaches at UCLA. His 1980s recordings for the Discovery label further solidified Wilson's musical legacy, as have his regular appearances with his longtime L.A.-based orchestra. “My band in Los Angeles has been together for decades and I have some players who have been with me for more than 15 years. We always enjoy performing around town at concerts and festivals.”


Summing up his thoughts on his latest project, Gerald Wilson says, “I've listened to ‘In My Time’ several times and, honestly, this might very well be the best record I've ever made. The intonation of the musicians is so good, the musicians interpreted the music so well, and they are great young players who are looking ahead, moving the banner of jazz into the future.” Young as some of the musicians may be, none have a more youthful spirit than the ageless Gerald Wilson.

Press Quotes


“Veteran L.A.-based big-band leader Gerald Wilson, who first played Monterey in 1963, has been commissioned to write special pieces for the festival. This year's theme-and-variations model, “Monterey Moods,” is similar to 1997's “Theme for Monterey.” In this case, Wilson comes from different arrangemental/compositional angles on a simple 10-measure theme, with accents designed to accommodate the mantra “Mon-ter-ey.” Needless to say, boosterist spirit was in the air, and more than usual, at this 50th bash.” -- Josef Woodard, JazzTimes


“The legacy of Gerald Wilson and the Monterey Jazz Festival are closely linked. From his first visits to Monterey in the early 1960's playing and hanging out with Diz and Monk to his commission pieces for our 25th, 40th and now 50th anniversary, Gerald's spirit has infused the festival with his unique brand of artistry, humanity and pure, swingin' fun. Gerald Wilson and the Monterey Jazz Festival have helped create a vibrant and long-lasting west coast musical spirit. It's a great partnership and we are honored to be associated with him!” --Tim Jackson, General Manager, Monterey Jazz Festival


“Playing with Gerald Wilson is always such a joy and an inspiration, as is hearing the results. … you'll also discover Gerald Wilson the person ... intelligent, wise, full of joy and classy, just like his compositions.” --Jon Faddis


“Gerald Wilson is one of the greatest composers and arrangers living today. Monterey Moods, is another example of his genius.” --Kenny Burrell


“Gerald Wilson's longevity with his creativity alone gives testimony to his value as an international treasure.” --Hubert Laws





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THE ART OF JAZZ VOCALESE


GEORGE V JOHNSON JR

Executive Director & Founder
Washington DC Jazz Network
wdcjn@hotmail.com


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Exploring America's Classical Music "JAZZ"

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Benny Sharoni, an Israeli-born, Boston-based tenor saxophonist, can energize even the largest, most lackluster venue with his big-toned sound and ebullient phrasing, packed with intense emotion and spirituality, a vibrant hybrid of the hip and the holy."

First Wooden Clock by: BENJAMIN BANNEKER 

Using as a model a pocket watch he had borrowed from a merchant or traveler, Banneker carved wooden replicas of each piece and used the parts to make a clock that struck hourly. He completed the clock in 1753, at the age of 21. Due to its precision (it struck every hour, on the hour, and continued to do so nearly forty years) the clock brought fame to young Banneker. Thus he began a watch and clock repair business. The clock continued to work until his death. Read more....

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George, thank you and thank GOD for blessing you with insight to create WDCJN!   The Network has been my connection to the greatest Jazz Legends alive today and Emerging Jazz Icons.  Many of whom I've met and collaborated with over the last 3 yrs after our introduction.  Its a Wonderful thing when Creativity collides with History, Experience and Cosmic Energy and that's exactly the vortex you've created with the WDCJN.  Keep letting your light Shine Brother,......... Keep letting it SHINE~~~Lou 

 

 
KEEPING PEOPLE CONNECTED AROUND THE WORLD. Telling it like it is !

I think the idea is now for blacks to write about the history of our music. It's time for that, because whites have been doing it all the time. 

Hahahaha...Yeah, Diz you hit the nail on the head.  Tell it like it is...

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ART BLAKEY
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The annual Kemet Nu "Know Thyself: Educational Tour to Egypt will run July 12 - 26, 2014 (15 days). We had a wonderful tour in 2013 and look forward to another trip of a lifetime in 2014. Listed below is pertinent information on the upcoming pilgrimage to the Motherland. Click here for a copy of the brochure with reservation form on page 5.
KEMET NU "KNOW THYSELF" EDUCATIONAL TOUR - A 15 Day African-centered "Trip of a Lifetime." EGYPT : FROM CAIRO TO NUBIA, Conducted by Ashra and Merira Kwesi, international lecturers on the African origin of civilization, religion and culture. Tour is based on 33 years of consistent field research and annual tour experience in Egypt .

Pyramids and Sphinx (Horemakhet) at Giza and much, much more...
Notice the resemblence! Who are we? Why did they destroy our Pyramids?


Put it this way: Jazz is a good barometer of freedom… In its beginnings, the United States of America spawned certain ideals of freedom and independence through which, eventually, jazz was evolved, and the music is so free that many people say it is the only unhampered, unhindered expression of complete freedom yet produced in this country.~~~Duke Ellington

 

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In The Beginning...
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October 29, 2012

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W.D.C.J.N. is one of the first American Jazz Networks to embrace the remaining truly great Jazz legends of our times and upcoming Jazz greats through today’s social media. 

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I fully endorse this institution  "The Washington DC Jazz Network" and encourage anyone that is fond of Jazz to visit the Washington D.C. Jazz Network; today and become a member or make a donation to a worthy cause.

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Howard University Jazz Ensemble Fall Concert

The Howard University Jazz Ensemble will present it's Fall Concert @ Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel.


The guest soloist will be saxophonist Javon Jackson. Mr. Jackson is a veteran of the bands of Art Blakey, Freddie Hubbard, Elvin Jones and Les McCann. There will also be a performance by AFRO BLUE, the award winning vocal jazz ensemble.
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W.D.C.J.N. is one of the first American Jazz Networks to embrace the remaining truly great Jazz legends of our times and upcoming Jazz great through today’s social media.
 
The W.D.C.J.N. is now internationally reaching Jazz musician, enthusiasts and aficionados, promoters, festivals of Jazz around the world. A real eye opener for people researching the history and present day development an evolution of America’s only original art form and historical legacy.

I fully endorse this institution and encourage anyone that is fond of Jazz to visit the Washington D.C. Jazz Network; today and become a member or make a donation to a worthy cause.

Sincerely!!!

Maxwell Price
Belgium

 

Carmelo Munet
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