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Gerald Wilson: Gerald Wilson and His Orchestra 1945-46

What a career Gerald Wilson’s has! He began writing and playing trumpet for Jimmy Lunceford in 1939 and hasn’t quit since. Wilson deserves a great deal of credit for his compositions “Yard Dog Mazurka” and “Hi Spook,” written for Lunceford, which forecast the “progressive” music of Stan Kenton, Boyd Raeburn and Earle Spencer. Kenton’s “Intermission Riff” appropriated thematic material from “Yard Dog Mazurka.”

These tracks were cut for the Excelsior and Black and White labels in Los Angeles, where Wilson led a fine big band in the mid-’40s. The characteris-tics of his writing for Lunceford were still apparent, but he’d been absorbing bop influences. There’s a recording of “Groovin’ High” on the CD cut just after Dizzy Gillespie’s.

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