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Teddy Wilson

Theodore Shaw "Teddy" Wilson (November 24, 1912–July 31, 1986) was a jazz pianist from the United States born in Austin, Texas. His sophisticated and elegant style graced the records of many of the biggest names in jazz, including Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.teddy wilson

Wilson studied piano and violin at Tuskegee Institute. After working in the Speed Webb and Louis Armstrong bands, he joined Benny Carter's Chocolate Dandies in 1933. In 1935 he joined the Benny Goodman Trio (which consisted of Goodman, Wilson and drummer Gene Krupa, later expanded to the Benny Goodman Quartet with the addition of Lionel Hampton). The trio performed during the big band's intermissions. By joining the trio, Wilson became the first black musician to perform in public with a previously all-white jazz group.

 

The noted jazz writer and producer John Hammond was instrumental in getting Wilson a contract with Brunswick, starting in 1935, to record hot swing arrangements of the popular songs of the day, with the growing jukebox trade in mind. He recorded fifty hit records with various singers such as Lena Horne and Helen Ward, including many of Billie Holiday's greatest successes. During these years he also took part in many highly regarded sessions with a wide range of important swing musicians, such as Lester Young, Roy Eldridge, Charlie Shavers, Red Norvo, Buck Clayton and Ben Webster.teddy wilson

Wilson formed his own short-lived big band in 1939, then led a sextet at Cafe Society from 1940 to 1944. He was known to many as the "Marxist Mozart." In the 1950s he taught at the Juilliard School. Wilson can be seen appearing as himself in the motion picture The Benny Goodman Story (1955).

Wilson lived quietly in suburban Hillsdale, NJ in the 1960s and 1970s. He performed as a soloist, and with pick-up groups until the final years of his life. Teddy Wilson died on July 31, 1986.