All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Teddy Wilson

Teddy Wilson Teddy Wilson

Teddy Wilson is an NEA Jazz Master

His airy, effortless style, with its emphasis on lightly accompanied right-hand melody, was a key element in the transition from swing to bebop, and many modern jazz pianists took Wilson's approach as their starting point. His early recordings were percussive and forceful, but as he matured his technique became graceful, almost elegant. He was a gifted artist who used the full range of his instrument to his advantage. His recordings with Billie Holiday and Benny Goodman’s trio and quartet during the 1930s are considered classics.

Wilson was born in Austin, TX in 1912, his parents were both schoolteachers. They left Texas in 1918 for positions at the prestigious Tuskegee College in Talladega, AL, one of the pioneer black universities. Wilson studied music at both the Tuskegee Institute and Alabama's Talladega College.

Moving on to Detroit and Toledo, Ohio, he started by joining up with Speed Webb and Milton Senior before heading to Chicago, where he played with the likes of Erskine Tate, Eddie Mallory, Clarence Moore, Jimmy Noone and Louis Armstrong. He traveled to New York in 1933 to join Benny Carter's orchestra, the Chocolate Dandies. After Carter disbanded the following year to take a position as arranger with Goodman's band Wilson worked with an all-star group led by Red Norvo in 1934 and with Willie Bryant's band during 1934 and 1935. He met Goodman in 1935 and in 1936 was asked to join the bandleader's trio, which also included drummer Gene Krupa. Lionel Hampton joined soon after, making it a quartet. Wilson became the first African-American publicly featured in Goodman's line-up.

Read more

Tags

Extended Analysis
Album Review
Read more articles

Photos

Albums

Album Classic Brunswick & Columbia Teddy Wilson Sessions 1934-42 by Teddy Wilson

Classic Brunswick &...

Mosaic Records
2018

buy
Album Teddy Wilson: Solo / Big Band by Teddy Wilson

Teddy Wilson: Solo /...

Storyville Records
2010

buy
Album Solo Big Band by Teddy Wilson

Solo Big Band

Storyville Records
2010

buy
Album In Copenhagen by Teddy Wilson

In Copenhagen

Storyville Records
2008

buy

Watch

Similar

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and through our retail affiliations you'll support us in the process.

MUSICSTACK
Rare vinyl LPs and CDs from over 1,000 independent sellers
AMAZON
CDs, Vinyl, Blu-Ray DVDS, Prime membership, Alexa, SONOS and more
HD TRACKS
Specializing in high resolution and CD-quality downloads
CD UNIVERSE
Specializing in music, movies and video games
REVERB
Marketplace for new, used, and vintage instruments and gear

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.