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Suite Memories: Reflections

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, July 1, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

During five decades as a big band leader, Gerald Wilson has earned his share of accolades, among them three Grammy Nominations and the NEA Jazz Master Fellowship, as well as having his works archived by the Library of Congress. Suite Memories: Reflections on a Jazz Journey is the spoken-word biography of this master. Wilson movingly recounts his experiences working with legendary jazz artists such as Basie, Ellington and Gillespie. A unique collector's edition double album with 16 pages of photos and biographical notes. TRACK LISTING: 1.My First Baton 2.Shelby, Mississippi 3.Jimmie Lunceford 4.Two Tickets, Please 5.In the Navy 6.My First Band 7.Duke Ellington 8.Jimmy Blanton 9.Count Basie 10.Bennie Carter
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 1, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Mama Records
  • ASIN: B0000018M3
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #583,182 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this CD, but buyers must be aware that there is virtually no music here. This is the spoken word of Gerald Wilson, one of the greatest arrangers and orchestrators in the history of jazz. Perhaps only Gil Evans, Duke Ellington, and Billy Strayhorn join Gerald Wilson at the very top.
Wilson is recorded reminiscing about his life in what appears to be answers to the (silent) interviewer's questions. His memory is astounding, as he recalls his early life in Mississippi, his teens in Detroit, his early musical experiences, life in the navy, the various bands he played in (trumpet), and his friendships with so many jazz greats. Wilson's obvious intelligence and great musical knowledge and sophistication come through again and again. So too does his enthusiasm for his music, his genuine affection for his fellow musicians, and the depth and breadth of his knowledge of the history of jazz.
Another quality emerges from this CD. That is Gerald Wilson's great humanity and generosity. He finds something to praise about everyone he mentions. His stories are not sugar-coated, but rather the true expression of a happy and open soul. It comes as no suprise that Wilson's parents were very hard working and religious people, and that his own relationship with his wife is very close.
We owe thanks to Gene Czerwinski and his MAMA Foundation for this jewel of history. Czerwinski and his late wife Lois founded Cerwin-Vega, a hi-fi company.
I have been a fan of jazz along with my passion for classical music and opera for many years. Gerald Wilson first came to my attention in the 1960's with his recordings for Pacific Jazz. Anyone who is interested in him, or in the history of jazz since the 1930's would profit from listening to this CD.
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