Theodore Shaw Wilson, 24 November 1912, Austin, Texas, USA, d. 31 July 1986, New Britain, Connecticut, USA. Born into a middle-class family, Wilson grew up in Tuskegee where his parents moved to take up teaching posts at the university. He studied violin and piano at Tuskegee and later extended his studies at college in Alabama. In 1929, by now concentrating on piano, he became a professional musician in Detroit. He played in bands led by Speed Webb and others in the Midwest until he settled in Chicago, where he worked with Erskine Tate, Eddie Mallory, Louis Armstrong and Jimmie Noone. In the early 30s he played with Art Tatum, holding his own in duets, a feat of considerable distinction. In 1933 he was heard by John Hammond, who encouraged him to move to New York to play in Benny Carters band, and he also played with Willie Bryant. During this period in his career Wilson made a succession of outstanding records, with Carter in the Chocolate Dandies, leading...
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