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Gerald Wilson—Arranger, Musician and Bandleader—Dies at 96

A 75-year career that included collaborations with Ellington and Basie

Gerald Wilson
Gerald Wilson

Gerald Wilson, the Mississippi-born musician who became a much-heralded arranger, bandleader and conductor over the 75-year span of his career-died Sept. 8 at his Los Angeles home. The cause was pneumonia. Wilson was 96.

The list of giants with whom Wilson collaborated over the years is staggering: Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Carmen McRae, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Betty Carter, Stan Kenton, Count Basie, Dinah Washington and Nancy Wilson are among the jazz artists who called upon Wilson’s talents. He was also recruited by artists from outside of the jazz realm, among them Ray Charles, B.B. King, Zubin Mehta, Harry Belafonte, Bobby Darin and Les McCann.

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