In the late '30s and early '40s, pianist Teddy Wilson was a big deal in the land of jazz. He had many opportunities to perform as a sideman, and eventually got his breaks. These sessions showcase of variety of his efforts with big bands, large ensembles, small groups, and a singer named Billie Holiday. Though none of his own compositions are credited ("Big Apple" should be,) he certainly had a hand in the arrangements, and was given space to play quite a bit of piano. The Hep label has generously provided 23 selections with Wilson and bandmates including stalwarts Hot Lips Page, Lester Young, Freddie Green, Red Norvo and Pee Wee Russell, as well as backing trombonist Benny Morton's All Stars. There are two takes of "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Just a Mood" (Blue Mood,) "When You're Smiling," and "I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me" for contrast sake. The sound reproduction of these vintage performances is excellent, and this one can easily be recommended to both fan and novice.
Verve 60th Rare Albums SHM-CD Reissue Series. Reissue with SHM-CD format. Intimate listening from pianist Teddy Wilson, but surprisingly lively listening too – as Teddy's as fleet on the keys as ever, and maybe even more so in this well-recorded session from the 50s! The record's got a great Verve vibe – simple, unadorned presentation of the Teddy Wilson genius at its mature height – with bass and drums to help bring in a gentle bit of rhythm, but Teddy handling most of the energy himself – with an amazing command of the keyboard that really transforms these familiar tunes. The approach is like Erroll Garner at his best from the time – subtle magic from simple sources – but Teddy's lighter, and more lyrical too – especially on his flourishes on the keys.
Distinctive piano player, one of the most influential ticklers of the Swing era, fabled for work with Billie Holiday and Benny Goodman. 12 standarts, Recorded 1941-1950.
Reissue with the latest DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. During the years 1935-1939 pianist Teddy Wilson led a series of small recording bands peppered with some of the world's most accomplished and influential jazz musicians. That's why "Teddy Wilson & His All-Stars" is an accurate heading for this collection of 16 tunes recorded between July 31, 1935 and November 1, 1939. Wilson's ability to summon many of the best improvisers of his generation yielded results that continue to delight and entertain those who take the time to savor the solos and marvel at the integrity of the ensembles. Collectively, Wilson's players as heard here included trumpeters Irving "Mouse" Randolph, Cootie Williams, Roy Eldridge, Buck Clayton and Jonah Jones, as well as trombonist Benny Morton.
Besides occasional appearances with Benny Goodman, pianist Teddy Wilson taught summer courses at the famous Juilliard School for music from 1946 to 1952. Despite this prestigious profession, he recorded only irregularly during these years and made most of his money as a staff pianist for WNEW. In the fall of 1952, he went on a brief tour to Scandinavia where he was finally able to record again.
For this Classics CD (one in a series of Teddy Wilson releases that reissue all of the pianist's early recordings as a leader), Billie Holiday is featured on nine of the titles including "I'll Get By," "Mean to Me," "Foolin' Myself," and "Easy Living"; all of those gems also feature tenor saxophonist Lester Young. ~ AllMusic
By 1952, Teddy Wilson's flawless swing style had already been fully formed for at least 17 years, and it would not change at all during the remaining three decades of his life. Wilson's performances were predictably excellent, but predictable nonetheless. This limited-edition five-CD set has all of the pianist's Verve trio recordings, which includes six-and-a-half former LPs (the half was an appearance at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival), a set only released previously in Japan, and a live date that had never come out before.
Although it has been written much too often that Lester Young declined rapidly from the mid-'40s on, the truth is that when he was healthy, Young played at his very best during the '50s, adding an emotional intensity to his sound that had not been present during the more carefree days of the '30s. This classic session, a reunion with pianist Teddy Wilson and drummer Jo Jones (bassist Gene Ramey completes the quartet), finds the great tenor in particularly expressive form. ~ AllMusic