fasstrack

Jack Wilson, Pianist

52 posts in this topic

I knew him in the '80s at the Jazz Cultural Theater, and played his very interesting charts at a Clifford Jordan big band rehearsal. He also used to play for Charles Davis's class there. He was a great guy, and very encouraging to younger musicians like myself. I very much liked his work in the early '60s on both piano and organ with Gerald Wilson's big band.

I think he had perhaps a serious stroke, and spent his final days in a nursing home, pretty much forgotten about before passing away in 2007. 

Here is a bio:http://www.bluenote.com/spotlight/the-underappreciated-jack-wilson 

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Used to really like his stuff with Roy Ayers, especially Ramblin'. Got to pull that one out. Been too long.

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Yes! Excellent pianist. I always enjoyed his work with Gerald Wilson's big band.

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Jack was a topic here before...  Through it, his family got in touch with me about the solo recordings I had done of him.  I sent them the masters, but I don't know if they wish to do anything with them.  A very nice man, and fine pianist...

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he was nice to me. i was playing with a horrible street band once in front of the gulf and western building. i mean they were excrable. the two co-leaders started on kazoos, then graduated to banging on bass drums. anyway, jackie came by and listened, trying to hide behind the ballantine beer hat i never saw him without---so as not to make me self-conscious. i peeped him anyway, and was embarrassed as hell to be seen and heard with this raggedy-ass band. when i ran into jackie next time i told him i had seen him and was embarrassed. he rejoined 'don't be. i listened 'cause you were the only thing happening'. he told someone else that i 'had a lot of heart'. i was very bummed that he went out the way he did: seemingly alone and forgotten.

 

Edited by fasstrack

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Yes, I thought the old thread was revived again until I looked closer at the start date to see it was new.  I really like Jack Wilson and I knew him for his solo albums before I discovered he was on a couple of Gerald Wilson albums I had, then I started noticing how much he played with GW.  His albums with Roy Ayers are special.  It's always sad to hear of talent unappreciated, especially as the artist gets older.  It makes me think of Red Garland and how he struggled in his later years, playing local clubs for little money.  The arts can be fickle though.

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4 hours ago, six string said:

 The arts can be fickle though.

They can? :wacko:

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11 hours ago, fasstrack said:

They can? :wacko:

Ok, maybe the more honest answer and more correct is art patrons can be fickle, eh?  Just riffin' on the one minute you're up, the next you're down.  Wondering how Red felt going from playing the world's greatest stages to a local bar.  

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13 hours ago, six string said:

Ok, maybe the more honest answer and more correct is art patrons can be fickle, eh?  Just riffin' on the one minute you're up, the next you're down.  Wondering how Red felt going from playing the world's greatest stages to a local bar.  

In a way, ALL bars are local bars.  And almost all great players are local players.

I recall meeting a guitarist in Germany who was a huge fan of Ed Bickert, but had never heard him in person -- had him on lots of records, had seen videos...  He was almost angry at me when I told him Ed could be heard (on average) about 10 days a month at a little club one short block from my front door. 

And there are wonderful players in New York who are stars in Europe or Japan yet play for the door at home... (You can supply the names yourself.)

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I used to go see Jessica Williams every Wednesday night, well almost every Wednesday, no cover charge, in a local club, because she was , like local man.   The flipside of that is Jessica was paid poorly for her three or four sets.  Everybody's local somewhere.

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I'm reviving this topic to pass on word from Jack Wilson's widow Sandie.  She has made available the solo piano recordings that I taped at Toronto's Cafe des Copains in 1987.  Michael Cuscuna contributed the liner notes and indicates they are unique in that Jack never made a solo piano album. 

Here are the links Sandie provided me:

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My favorite Jack Wilson session is his trio recording in NYC 6/4/93 on the DIW label.

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12 minutes ago, .:.impossible said:

Thanks for sharing these recordings Ted. 

Ditto. 

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16 hours ago, Brad said:

Ditto. 

Happy to do so.  I recorded a LOT of things and always told the artist the tapes were theirs to use as they wish.  Artists should own what they produce.  Which reminds me that I should get in touch with Laurie Pepper and buy the new releases from Toronto, which I recorded.  Glad to see it's out, and cleaned up much better than I could do, given the kind of equipment that's available today.

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On 10/2/2018 at 3:59 PM, Ted O'Reilly said:

Happy to do so.  I recorded a LOT of things and always told the artist the tapes were theirs to use as they wish.  Artists should own what they produce.  Which reminds me that I should get in touch with Laurie Pepper and buy the new releases from Toronto, which I recorded.  Glad to see it's out, and cleaned up much better than I could do, given the kind of equipment that's available today.

Thank you!  Beautiful recording and wonderful playing.

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How about these unissued Jack Wilson recordings:

  Live "Memory Lane", Los Angeles (Set no. 1), July 8, 1970
  Tears inside (unissued)    Blue Note
  Medley:       -
  Spiritual      -
  Four and one      -
  Street scene      -
  Night mist      -
  Caravan      -
  Soulin'      -

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

same pers.
  Live "Memory Lane", Los Angeles (Set no. 2), July 8, 1970
  Medley  (unissued)    Blue Note
  Ahmad's blues      -
  New rhumba      -
  Medley       -
  Something      -
  After supper      -
  Ada      -
  Medley       -
  Little sunflower      -
  Soulin'      -

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

same pers.
  Live "Memory Lane", Los Angeles (Set no. 3), July 8, 1970
  Ramblin' (unissued)    Blue Note
  Squeeze me      -
  Wave      -
  Medley       -
  I hear a rhapsody      -
  Soulin'      -

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

same pers.
  Live "Memory Lane", Los Angeles (Set no. 1), July 9, 1970
  Little sunflower (unissued)    Blue Note
  Ramblin'      -
  Night mist      -
  Ada      -
  Soulin'      -

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

same pers.
  Live "Memory Lane", Los Angeles (Set no. 2), July 9, 1970
  Ahmad's blues (unissued)    Blue Note
  If it's the last thing I do      -
  Medley       -
  Blues      -
  Wine      -
  Soulin'      -

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

same pers.
  Live "Memory Lane", Los Angeles (Set no. 3), July 9, 1970
  Untitled (bass feature) (unissued)    Blue Note
  Street scene      -
  Medley      -
  Soulin'      -

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

These were recorded after the "Song For My Daughter" LP on Blue Note, Some of it should be releasable.

Edited by mikeweil

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Awesome find Mike!  Does Blue Note  / EMI still have these tapes?  Paging Michael Cuscuna...

I will paste this info in the Jack Wilson megathread...

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It's not my find - it's in the Tom Lord Discography, which probably has it fom Ruppli/Cuscuna's Blue Note Discography, so Michael should know about it. 

Spinning Song For My Daughter right now - mesmerizing renditions of Scarborough Fair and Ron Carter's Eighty-One (Wilson was great at selecting tunes by his peers!). Billy Byers wrote very original string arrangements, much like his work for Hampton Hawes. 

R-3378314-1328038205.jpeg.jpg

That said - all of Wilson's albums deserve a reissue - they're all excellent, IMO:

Edited by mikeweil

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Jack Wilson fans should not overlook Roy Ayers' debut as a leader, which has Wilson featured prominently, and Curtis Amy on four tracks. Mosaic still has a few copies of the fine sounding Mighty Quinn reissue CD.

R-8086703-1454870909-4076.jpeg.jpg

http://www.mosaicrecords.com/prodinfo.asp?number=AYERR01

Edited by mikeweil

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Jack Wilson is someone whom I missed entirely when I was first discovering jazz.  Several years back, I picked up a couple of Blue Note albums on CD.  I need to re-spin these. 

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I wonder how Jack Wilson got to Blue Note.  His first BN album wasn't produced by Lion or Wolff, instead by Jack Tracy.  All west coast musicians.  Not a typical BN production.

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And yet the mastering of 'Something Personal' was by Rudy Van Gelder, whose name is stamped on the trail-out groove.  It appears Tracy handed the masters to Rudy and said, "You take it from here."

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