George Wallington

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George Wallington
Birth name Giacinto Figlia
Born October 27, 1924
Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Died February 15, 1993(1993-02-15) (aged 68)
Cape Coral, Miami, Florida, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, composer
Instruments Piano
Years active 1940s–1960; 1984–

George Wallington (born Giacinto Figlia; October 27, 1924, Palermo, SicilyCape Coral, Miami, February 15, 1993) was an American bebop pianist and composer.

Early life[edit]

Wallington was born in Sicily, and then moved to the United States (New York) with his family in 1925.[1] His father sang opera and introduced his son to classical music, but George became more involved in jazz after listening to saxophonist Lester Young.[1] He said that he acquired the name Wallington at high school: "I like to wear flashy clothes [...] and the kids in the neighborhood would say, 'Hey, look at Wallington!'"[1] He left school at the age of 15 to play piano in New York.[1]

Later life and career[edit]

From 1943 to 1953 Wallington played with Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Marsala, Charlie Parker, Serge Chaloff, Allan Eager, Kai Winding, Terry Gibbs, Brew Moore, Al Cohn, Gerry Mulligan, Zoot Sims, and Red Rodney, and recorded as a leader for Savoy and Blue Note (1950). Wallington toured Europe in 1953 with Lionel Hampton's big band.[2] In 1954-60 he led bands in New York that contained rising musicians including Donald Byrd, Jackie McLean, and Phil Woods.[2]

From 1954 to 1960 he led groups in New York that included newcomers Donald Byrd, Jackie McLean, and Phil Woods, recording as leader with these musicians for the Prestige and Atlantic labels.

In 1960 Wallington stopped playing music and moved to Florida[1] to work in the family air conditioning business,[2] citing the stress of endless touring. He returned to music in 1984 and recorded three albums.[2] He also performed at the 1985 Kool Jazz Festival in New York.[1]

Playing style[edit]

His style is often compared to that of Bud Powell.

Compositions[edit]

His best-known compositions are "Lemon Drop" (which gained attention when played by Woody Herman in the late 1940s), and "Godchild" (one of the pieces played for The Birth of the Cool recordings led by Miles Davis).[1]

Discography[edit]

As leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Personnel/Notes
1949–51 The George Wallington Trios and Septet Savoy Trios, with Curly Russell (bass), Charlie Perry (drums), and Russell (bass), Max Roach (drums); septet with Jerry Lloyd (trumpet), Kai Winding (trombone), Brew Moore (tenor sax), Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax), Russell (bass), Perry (drums)
1952–53 The George Wallingon Trio Prestige Trios, with Curly Russell (bass), Max Roach (drums), and Oscar Pettiford (bass), Roach (drums)
1954 Trios RCA Vogue With Pierre Michelot
1954 The Workshop of the George Wallington Trio Verve Trio, with Curly Russell (bass), Art Taylor (drums)
1955 Live at the Café Bohemia Prestige Quintet, with Donald Byrd (trumpet), Jackie McLean (alto sax), Paul Chambers (bass), Art Taylor (drums)
1956 Jazz for the Carriage Trade Prestige Quintet, with Donald Byrd (trumpet), Phil Woods (alto sax), Teddy Kotick (bass), Bill Bradley (drums)
1957 The New York Scene New Jazz Some tracks trio, with Teddy Kotick (bass), Nick Stabulas (drums); some tracks quintet, with Donald Byrd (trumpet), Phil Woods (alto sax) added
1957 Jazz at Hotchkiss Savoy Quintet, with Donald Byrd (trumpet), Phil Woods (alto sax), Knobby Totah (bass), Nick Stabulas (drums)
1957 The Prestidigitator East-West Records Some tracks with quartet; some tracks quintet
1985 The Pleasure of a Jazz Inspiration VSOP Solo piano

As sideman[edit]

Year recorded Leader Title Label
1946–49 Chaloff, SergeSerge Chaloff We the People Bop Cool & Blue
1950, 1954 Cohn, AlAl Cohn Cohn's Tones Savoy
1949–53 Getz, StanStan Getz Early Getz
1951 Mulligan, GerryGerry Mulligan Mulligan Plays Mulligan
1952 Ross, AnnieAnnie Ross Annie Ross Sings
1953 Hampton, LionelLionel Hampton Oh! Rock Natasha
1957 Jaspar, BobbyBobby Jaspar Bobby Jaspar with George Walligton, Idrees Sulieman

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Wilson, John S. (June 16, 1985) "Jazz". The New York Times. p. G2.
  2. ^ a b c d Yanow, Scott "George Wallington – Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved December 15, 2014.

External links[edit]