Gerald Wiggins

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Gerald Wiggins
Helen Humes and Gerry Wiggins.jpg
Helen Humes and Wiggins at the Village Jazz Lounge in Walt Disney World
Background information
Birth nameGerald Foster Wiggins
Born(1922-05-12)May 12, 1922
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedJuly 13, 2008(2008-07-13) (aged 86)
Encino, California, U.S.
GenresJazz
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, arranger
InstrumentsPiano, organ

Gerald Foster Wiggins, Sr. (May 12, 1922 – July 13, 2008) was a jazz pianist and organist.[1]

Early life[edit]

Wiggins was born in New York City on May 12, 1922.[2] He studied classical music, but switched to jazz in his teens.[2]

Later life and career[edit]

Wiggins began as a professional playing accompaniment to comedian Stepin Fetchit.[2] Wiggins worked with Louis Armstrong and Benny Carter.[2] He was in the military from 1944 to 1946.[2] In the 1940s he moved to Los Angeles, where he played music for television and film. He also worked with singers like Lena Horne (1950–51), Kay Starr, and Eartha Kitt.[2] In 1960 his best recording as an organist appeared, Wiggin' Out, known for the quality of its music and fresh, clear sound. He recorded another LP at the organ with saxophonist Teddy Edwards. "In the 1960s he worked as a music director and vocal coach in film studios,"[2] including "a lengthy stint as vocal coach for Marilyn Monroe."[3]

Wiggins was perhaps best known for his trio, with other members Andy Simpkins and Paul Humphrey, among others.[2] He also appeared in an episode of 227,[4] and an episode of Moesha,[5] in both cases he played a pianist. "He appeared regularly at American jazz parties and festivals and occasionally at Japanese and European festivals and was in demand for recording sessions."[2]

Wiggins died in Los Angeles on July 13, 2008, aged 86.[6][7]

Playing style[edit]

His recordings for Concord Records "demonstrate his firm touch, all-round musicianship, and sense of swing."[2]

Selected discography[edit]

As leader/co-leader[edit]

  • Wiggin' with Wig (1956) Dig
  • Relax and Enjoy It! (1956) Contemporary
  • Collections (Intro, 1957) with Red Norvo, Art Pepper and Joe Morello
  • Reminiscin' with Wig (1957) Fresh Sound
  • The King and I (1957) Challenge
  • Music from "Around the world in 90 days" in modern jazz (1957) Specialty
  • Wiggin' out (1960) Hi-Fi Jazz (as organist)
  • Memory Lane (1964) Ava
  • Wig is here (1977) Black and Blue
  • A beautiful friendship (1977) Black and Blue
  • Live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Volume Eight (1990) Concord
  • Soulidarity (1995) Concord

As sideman[edit]

With Red Callender

With Benny Carter

With Kenny Clarke

With Buddy Collette

With Tal Farlow

With Mel Brown

With Teddy Edwards

With Paul Horn

With Illinois Jacquet

With Cal Tjader

  • Cal Tjader Quartet (Fantasy 1956)

With Gerald Wilson

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gerald Wiggins | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Vacher, Peter "Wiggins, Gerry". The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2nd edition). Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved February 1, 2016. (Subscription required).
  3. ^ Vacher, Peter (October 23, 2008). "Gerry Wiggins". The Guardian. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  4. ^ "Gerald Wiggins". IMDb. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  5. ^ TV.com. "Gerald Wiggins". TV.com. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  6. ^ "Gerald Wiggins: Leading Los Angeles Jazz Pianist". The Times. July 25, 2008.
  7. ^ Heckman, Don (July 15, 2008). "Jazz pianist played with his trio, plus many greats". Los Angeles Times.

External links[edit]