Ernie Wilkins

Tags: jazz bebop jazz saxophone hard bop under 2000 listeners Powered by AudioScrobbler
Decades: 1950s 1960s 1980s 1990s 2000s


20 July 1922, St. Louis, Missouri, USA, d. 5 June 1999, Copenhagen, Denmark. Wilkins studied formally at Wilberforce University, learning piano and violin before taking up the saxophone. He played locally before military service and in the post-war years played in the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra and that led by Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines. He then freelanced as player, composer and arranger until in 1952 he joined Count Basie, playing alto and tenor saxophones and, more importantly, becoming one of the band leader’s most respected composers and arrangers. He wrote ‘Every Day I Have The Blues’ for Basie’s singer Joe Williams; the song went on to become one of the bestselling jazz records of all-time. He returned to freelancing in the 1955, concentrating on writing arrangements for many bands, including those of Basie, Tommy Dorsey, Dizzy Gillespie and Harry James. Wilkins’ charts for the James band were outstanding and helped to create one of...

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