Garland Wilson

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Garland Wilson
Garland Wilson, between 1938 and 1948 (William P. Gottlieb 09351).jpg
Garland Wilson in the 1940s
Photograph by William P. Gottlieb
Background information
Birth name Garland Lorenzo Wilson
Born (1909-06-13)June 13, 1909
Martinsburg, West Virginia, U.S.
Died May 31, 1954(1954-05-31) (aged 44)
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Piano
Associated acts Herman Chittison
Nina Mae McKinney

Garland Lorenzo Wilson (June 13, 1909 – May 31, 1954) was an American jazz pianist born in Martinsburg, West Virginia, perhaps best known for his work with Nina Mae McKinney. Wilson was a boogie-woogie and stride pianist.[1]

Early life[edit]

Garland Wilson was born in Martinsburg, West Virginia in 1909.

Later life and career[edit]

Wilson attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. and in the 1930s worked in New York City at nightclubs in the area. In 1932 the pianist joined Nina Mae McKinney on a European tour. Wilson had also done extensive work in England with various groups, and did some recordings with Nat Gonella. In the liner notes of the CD box l'intégrale Django reinhardt - vol 2 he is quoted as being accompanist of French singer Jean Sablon together with guitarist Django Reinhardt on two sides recorded on November 1, 1935 in Paris. In 1939 he returned to the United States, where he remained until 1951, when he moved to Paris, France. The artist remained there until he died in 1954.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Wilson was a homosexual, something most artists of the day were unaware of while working with him.[citation needed] It has been speculated by some[who?] that the 1940 novel by Virginia Baker titled "Young Man With a Horn", which depicts a black male prostitute, was based on Wilson. Mary Lou Williams remembers being at a bar with her friend Mae Mezzrow (wife of Mezz Mezzrow).[clarification needed] He had collapsed and been taken to the hospital, where he died shortly after arriving; the cause may have been related to his liver.[2][3][4]

Select discography[edit]

  • Memories of You (Okeh)
  • Rockin' Chair (Okeh)

With Charlie Lewis and Herman Chittison

  • Jazz In Paris: Harlem Piano in Montmartre (Sunny Side)

With Mae Barnes


  1. ^ Panassie, Hugues (2005). The Real Jazz. Kessinger Publishing. p. 134. ISBN 1-4191-5028-6. 
  2. ^ a b Clarke, Donald (2002). Billie Holiday: Wishing on the Moon. Da Capo Press. p. 68. ISBN 0-306-81136-7. 
  3. ^ Dahl, Linda (2001). Morning Glory: A Biography of Mary Lou Williams. University of California Press. pp. 235, 236. ISBN 0-520-22872-3. 
  4. ^ Bradley, Arthur (2005). On and Off the Bandstand: A Collection of Essays Related to the Great Bands, the Story of Jazz. iUniverse. p. 140. ISBN 0-595-35907-8.