All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Interviews


Gerald Wilson: In His Time

Rex  Butters By

Sign in to view read count
GW: I went to a lawyer friend of mine who's still here, he's right downtown. I said, we've been trying to amalgamate these unions. We didn't like the way things were going. The agents were very mean to the players, money problems, we didn't know what was going on with the union. He said slip in on a general meeting. Don't tell anyone you're coming. Take your group down there and when they say, "New Business, raise up your hand. Make a motion, 'I move that local 767 will have a special meeting for the specific purpose of discussing the amalgamation of local 767 to local 47.' I had a guy right there to second, Percey Mack David, fine musician.

After that, things began to change. We took the union over. The next election day, we were there. We voted one of our guys in as vice president. Fired the guy who was giving the musicians hell, fired him on the spot. Then we brought Benny Carter in with his stature and reputation, brought him in with us. We got everything moving and it moved.

I gotta give Detroit credit. Coming from the south, when I went to Detroit this was the way things were supposed to be. All the schools were integrated in Detroit, Michigan. The union was integrated, the union I belonged to, local 5. They made us join. I played with a young band and we were so good we played in parks and in big ballrooms, they made us join the union. $5 and you start. Detroit gave me all I needed to carry me on. Because I always felt something was wrong here. What was it? I had a great life, my mother was a school teacher. She taught music, she played music for the schools, she played for the church. She was a college graduate. She started all of her children on piano. The day I played my first song on piano, my mother had taught me. I can go into the piano here and get going and keep going. Detroit brought back to me what it was supposed to be. I stayed in Detroit five years, there was no riot or nothing in my school. All of my teachers were white and they taught me well. So that's the way I thought it was supposed to be.

Selected Discography

Gerald Wilson, In My Time (Mack Avenue, 2005)
Gerald Wilson, New York, New Sound (Mack Avenue, 2003)
Gerald Wilson, Theme For Monterey (MAMA, 1997)

Gerald Wilson Orchestra, The Golden Sword (Pacific Jazz-Discovery, 1966)

Gerald Wilson Orchestra, Portraits (Pacific Jazz-Capitol, 1963)

Gerald Wilson Orchestra, Moment of Truth (Pacific Jazz, 1962)

Gerald Wilson Orchestra, The Complete Pacific Jazz Recordings (Pacific Jazz-Mosaic, 1961-69)

Photo Credits:
Top Photo: Brian Leng
Bottom Photo: Pat A. Robinson


comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles


Mack Avenue Records



Mack Avenue Records



Mack Avenue Records

Monterey Moods

Monterey Moods

Mack Avenue Records

In My Time

In My Time

Mack Avenue Records


In My Time

Mack Avenue Records


Related Articles

Read Ben Allison: Between Groove and Melody Interviews
Ben Allison: Between Groove and Melody
by Angelo Leonardi
Published: March 20, 2018
Read Leonardo Pavkovic: Nothing is Ordinary Interviews
Leonardo Pavkovic: Nothing is Ordinary
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 16, 2018
Read Bobby Previte: the Art of Travelling Trustingly Interviews
Bobby Previte: the Art of Travelling Trustingly
by Ludovico Granvassu
Published: March 14, 2018
Read Dafnis Prieto: Cross-Cultural Mix Interviews
Dafnis Prieto: Cross-Cultural Mix
by Angelo Leonardi
Published: March 13, 2018
Read Julian Pressley: From The Duke To Ornette In His Own Way Interviews
Julian Pressley: From The Duke To Ornette In His Own Way
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 12, 2018
Read Stephen Nomura Schible: I wanted to make an intimate portrait of Ryuichi Sakamoto Interviews
Stephen Nomura Schible: I wanted to make an intimate...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 10, 2018
Read "Arto Lindsay: Watch Out Madames!" Interviews Arto Lindsay: Watch Out Madames!
by Enrico Bettinello
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Aaron Parks: Rising To The Challenge" Interviews Aaron Parks: Rising To The Challenge
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Grace Kelly: Free From Boundaries" Interviews Grace Kelly: Free From Boundaries
by Doug Hall
Published: January 27, 2018
Read "Tom Green: A Man And His Trombone" Interviews Tom Green: A Man And His Trombone
by Nick Davies
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Walter Smith III: Jazz Explorer" Interviews Walter Smith III: Jazz Explorer
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: April 19, 2017