07/20/11

Vocalist Joe Lee Wilson is Dead at 75

Singer was inducted into Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

Vocalist Joe Lee Wilson passed away July 17 at age 75, according to an obituary carried in The Guardian. The cause of death was not given. According to the article, Wilson’s popularity peaked in the 1960s, primarily in the Northeast, when the baritone vocalist shared stages with Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis and others.

Born Dec. 22, 1935 near Bristow, Okla., Wilson, the article reported, left home at age 15 to pursue a music career in Los Angeles. He briefly studied classical singing at Los Angeles City College and then switched to jazz. He was discovered by vocalist Ernestine Anderson and moved to New York, where he collaborated with writer LeRoi Jones, saxophonist Archie Shepp, drummer Sunny Murray and others. Wilson was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.

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