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Bert Wilson

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Born: October 15, 1939    Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor

I was born in Evansville, IN in 1939, and at the age of 4, I contracted polio. I've been in a wheelchair ever since. The chair doesn't define me, but it has affected my life (and certainly my access to those basement jazz clubs). I got into jazz while living in a hospital school in Chicago, where one of the other kids turned me on to Charlie Parker at the age of 10. THAT affected my life far more than the polio did! Upon graduating from high school, I moved to L.A. and became a part of the “fringe” jazz scene there (in the early-to-mid '60s). By this time, I could play a bunch of “Bird's” music in 12 keys, but Ornette Coleman and 'Trane had gone off into a more modal free space and that's what all my friends wanted to play...
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