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Joe Wilder

Joe Wilder
Joe Wilder

It can be dangerous to equate a musician’s style with his persona. In the case of Joe Wilder, however, the warmth, lyricism, humor and sophistication of his music are an extension of the man himself. Just mention his name to almost any professional musician in either the jazz or classical worlds and you’re sure to get a smile and a testimonial-not only to Wilder’s musical talents, but also to his sterling personal qualities. In fact, Wilder’s sense of propriety is almost as legendary as his musical prowess. One longtime associate recalls that when Wilder was in Lionel Hampton’s orchestra in the early 1940s, fellow band members used to offer him a $10 bill if he would simply utter one four-letter word. Wilder never collected!

Wilder has accomplished just about everything one can accomplish in music-from big bands to bebop, classical concertos to commercials. And if he hasn’t enjoyed the same success in bringing his name before the general public, this failing is only a result of his modesty and self-effacing nature. Nevertheless, his belief in himself enabled him to avoid the pitfalls that claimed so many of his musical generation and to open doors that he was told he could never enter.

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