Teddy Wilson

Teddy Wilson and His Big Band (1939-1940)

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Although he was one of the most popular and influential pianists of the swing era, Teddy Wilson (like Coleman Hawkins and Jack Teagarden) was unsuccessful at keeping a big band together. As with Hawkins and Teagarden, the reason Wilson's orchestra did not catch on is obvious when one hears its recordings; the band did not have a strong personality of its own or a purpose for its existence. This Tax LP contains 16 performances by this orchestra which, due to its strong soloists (including Wilson, trumpeter Shorty Baker and tenor saxophonist Ben Webster who is heard shortly before he joined Duke Ellington), high musicianship, and a few memorable performances (including a version of "In the Mood" much different than Glenn Miller's), is well worth searching for.