Fer Urbina

Joe Wilder (1922-2014)

45 posts in this topic

Ed Berger, dear friend and biographer of Joe Wilder's, has reported his passing earlier today.

From his FB page

I'm so sorry to report that Joe died this morning after a long period of declining health. The funeral arrangements have not been announced, but there will be a public memorial at St. Peter's Church in Manhattan at a later date. I visited him on Tuesday and he was very peaceful and not in pain.

I've put together some of his music on my blog.

F

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RIP indeed. What a wonderful musician; about as tasteful -- but never over-polite -- a trumpet player as I can ever recall hearing.

His Savoy record (with that amazing version of "Cherokee" is justly celebrated, but later recordings for the Evening Star label are absolutely worth checking out.

http://www.lpb.com/eveningstar/index.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgnJdgjGvL0

Edited by Joe

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He was on so many records, it would be impossible to not listen to him.

He was even on a Steely Dan LP!

RIP

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He was a true master of the trumpet and flugelhorn. Alone With Just My Dreams (Evening Star) is a fine example of his later playing.

Thank you, Mr. Wilder. You'll be missed and remembered.

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Love his playing , Wilder N' Wilder is a favourite.

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His most fascinating/beautiful work IMO was on the Bix portion of Thomas Talbert's album "Bix, Duke & Fats."

This one, too, from the same album:

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Love his playing , Wilder N' Wilder is a favourite.

same here - damn ... but he hung in there for quite some time, after all!

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What a shame - but what a good long life ! RIP

The last thing I can remember him being on is JJ Johnson's 'Brass Project', where he was featured on some of the tracks. Did he record anything more recent?

Edited by sidewinder

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What a beautiful musician, both highly intuitive and highly schooled (he studied with the midcentury trumpet gurus Joseph Alessi and William Vacchiano). He had one of the most purely gorgeous trumpet sounds of them all – honeyed, round, mellifluous – along with the versatility to play lead trumpet in a big band, solo creatively with a small group, play principal trumpet in an orchestra or handle any Broadway pit assignment. He was a pioneer too, one of the very first black horn players to crack the studios and Broadway. And he was an elegant, lovely man, dignified, modest to a fault and never seen in public without a coat and tie. Joe represents the kind of gifted foot soldiers in jazz that almost never get the attention they deserve. When he received the NEA Jazz Master Award in 2008 I thought it was among the program's finest moments. His life was a monument to the idea that to be a musician was a noble calling. Nothing was more sacred to him than his professionalism.

I spoke with him briefly on a couple of occasions but can’t say I knew him. But about a decade ago I witnessed a scene I have never forgotten. Joe was playing in suburban Detroit on a small jazz society series backed by a local trio and a singer from mid-Michigan who had known Joe and arranged to bring him out to the area for a couple gigs. Joe played wonderfully with his exquisite sound, elegant melodic sense and still-remarkably supple technique. But there was one moment that stood out. He was playing a samba that he had written and there was this tricky little curlicue figure coming out of the bridge during the melody. Joe flubbed it during the first chorus and you could see immediately in his body language how much it bothered him to have made a mistake. After the solos, when it came time for the out-chorus, as soon as he started playing the melody again, you could clearly sense him aiming all of his attention toward that spot in the tune that he had previously missed. Sure enough, when he got there he nailed it.

That sense of pride and craftsmanship has really stayed with me -- the fact that here he was at 81, when no one would begrudge him a tiny technical slip (and the passage was tricky enough to trip up a much younger player), and he was playing for maybe 100 mostly older folks in a place that to him must have seemed like 1,000 miles from nowhere. But, by God, he was not going to miss that passage two times in a row. It was just so inspiring to see that level of commitment. A model for anyone doing anything at any age.

Edited by Mark Stryker

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I never had the pleasure of seeing Mr Wilder. Thank you for the anecdote Mark. RIP and thank you for the music.

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Joe Wilder played on the first jazz album I purchased about 12 years ago, Dizzy Gillespie's Gillespiana/Carnegie Hall Concert. Looking at Wilder's credits on AllMusic, it appears that his last appearance on record may have been on Gene Ludwig's wonderful Duff's Blues, which has some excellent Wilder solos (as well as by the leader and the other sidemen). Thank you for the music, Mr. Wilder.

Edited by Justin V

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Liked him from the first time I heard him, but the more I learned about him, the more I liked him, in no small part for the reasons to which Mark alludes.

RIP to a true player.

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I was just reading about him in Down Beat this morning. Some current player praising him. Had to agree. Lots of nice small group stuff, to say nothing of the big bands.

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Great post, Mark ! That pen-picture is pretty well exactly how I would have pictured him.

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This sure is some lousy news to wake up to.

I'll always cherish my time playing with and conversing with Joe.

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Joe Wilder was not only a wonderful trumpet player, but a ground breaker in opening up the theatre and radio to African Americn musicians.

I very much like the 2 recordings he did on the Evening Star label.

He will be missed.

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KCR played his entire output as a leader yesterday, which was unusual in the respect that there were a few LPs recorded in the late 50s, and then nothing until 1992.

As usual, all his recordings featured his beautiful sound, flawless technique and imaginative, melodic ideas.

The 50s recordings featured some stunning work by the always great Hank Jones, and a rare jazz appearance by the guitarist Al Casamente.

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