Dick Wilson

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A fine, Coleman Hawkins-inspired tenor saxophonist, Wilson played with Andy Kirk's Clouds of Joy but remains obscure today, probably because he died young (he was only thirty) and never played with the…
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A fine, Coleman Hawkins-inspired tenor saxophonist, Wilson played with Andy Kirk's Clouds of Joy but remains obscure today, probably because he died young (he was only thirty) and never played with the highest-profile bands, spending much of his short career with such now-forgotten groups as Gene Coy's Happy Aces and Zack Whyte's band. Wilson's father played guitar and violin, his mother piano and guitar. The family moved to Seattle, Washington when Wilson was about five. His first instrument was piano. He attended high school in Los Angeles, then moved back to Seattle, where he took lessons on alto saxophone from a local player named Joe Darensbourg. Wilson joined Don Anderson's band in Portland, Oregon in 1929. The next year he moved back to Seattle and played in Darensbourg's band. White worked with Coy on the West Coast in 1933-4 and Whyte in 1934-5. Wilson joined Kirk's band in Kansas City in 1936. Except for a brief spell in the summer of 1939 when he was hospitalized, Wilson stayed with Kirk until just before his death of tuberculosis in 1941. Most if not all of his recordings were done as a member of Kirk's band.