|Tags:||oldies 50s showtune counter-melody under 2000 listeners|
|Decades:||1950s 1980s 1990s 2000s|
13 February 1921, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA, d. 25 May 1955, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Growing up in Detroit, Gray first played clarinet before switching to tenor saxophone and joining the Earl Fatha Hines band in 1943. After two years he relocated to the west coast, where he became prominent among local beboppers, notably Dexter Gordon, with whom he played at Central Avenue clubs such as The Bird In The Basket. Gray made some successful recordings with Gordon, among them The Chase and The Hunt, and also composed a number of tunes himself, including Twisted, which, with lyrics added, became popular with vocalese singers. In the late 40s and early 50s Gray worked with Benny Carter, Billy Eckstine and Count Basie, and was a member of Benny Goodmans short-lived bebop big band where he elicited a rare compliment from Goodman, who never really liked bebop: If Wardell Gray plays bop then its great because...