Wilbert Baranco

Biography by

Wilbert Baranco had a reputation among his fellow musicians as a superb pianist and a top bandleader, although he was never well known to the public. He developed a following in the San Francisco area…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

Wilbert Baranco had a reputation among his fellow musicians as a superb pianist and a top bandleader, although he was never well known to the public. He developed a following in the San Francisco area as a pianist and then as a bandleader in the '30s and '40s -- although he trained as a pilot at the outset of World War II, he never served in uniform, and led bands throughout the war, among them Wilbert Baranco & His Rhythm Bombardiers and the Wilbert Baranco Trio. His home served as a way station for visiting jazz musicians, and at one time or another he had such legends as Art Tatum and others playing (or sleeping) under his roof. Baranco never enjoyed a long-term recording contract, and his musical reputation survives in the recollections of better-known contemporaries and the relative handful of radio airchecks that have been issued commercially, principally by Hindsight. Baranco led from the piano, and his bands in the mid-'40s included such luminaries was Snooky Young, Jackie "Kelso" Kelson, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charles Mingus.