Leo Wright Biography

Leo Nash Wright, 14 December 1933, Wichita Falls, Texas, USA, d. 4 January 1991, Vienna, Austria. After studying alto saxophone with his father and with jazzman John Hardee, Wright began a professional career that took him swiftly into stellar company. Among early engagements were spells with bands led by Charles Mingus and Dizzy Gillespie. With the latter he appeared at several major international festivals and made records including A Musical Safari. During the early 60s he worked with many musicians, sometimes as leader, and in the middle of the decade performed in Europe with George Gruntz and Lee Konitz’s Alto Summit, recording with both. From the end of the 60s he lived in Europe where he played with various bands but then, at the end of the 70s, he retired. In the mid-80s he returned to music to perform and sometimes record with Nat Adderley, Kenny Drew, and his vocalist wife Elly Wright, and also led his own groups. Although he sometimes played clarinet and flute it is on alto that Wright made his greatest mark, finding a tasteful blend between lush romanticism and earthy blues-influenced drive.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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