Jazz Birthday: Icon Gerald Wilson | September 4, 2012

Gerald Wilson 1918

Jazz trumpeter, big band bandleader, composer/arranger and educator Gerald Wilson has produced a body of work in his long career that classifies him as an icon.  Born in Shelby, Mississippi and raised in Detroit, he graduated from that city’s famed Cass Tech High School,  and went on to work with everyone from Jimmie Lunceford to Wynton Marsalis.

“My grades weren’t what they should have been, so they sent me back to the ninth grade. I was glad, because I wanted to study music, and Cass Tech was second only to Juilliard. We studied all kinds of music, harmony and orchestration.”

Commissioned by the Detroit International Jazz Festival to celebrate it’s 30th anniversary in 2009,  Gerald Wilson’s Detroit is a six part suite that evokes both the edge and the ambition of this blue collar city.


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