Wilson Wednesday – Teddy Wilson

Welcome back to Wilson Wednesday, and this week some piano jazz is in order as I present to you Teddy Wilson.


Born in 1912, Wilson earned a reputation as the “definitive swing pianist” and was a feature on recordings of many of the biggest names of jazz in that era, including Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald. He was somewhat of a trailblazer too, as he often preformed with white musicians, which at the time was not the common thing to do.

But it wasn’t just backing the big performers of the day, he also led some bands in his own right, including the Teddy Wilson Sextet. Here is a link to one of their albums (note it contains the full album, so will not be suitable if you are time poor.)

I am not a big jazz fan myself, nor am I proficient in explaining the technicalities of music, but there may be others here that would like to add something and explain to us all how good Teddy Wilson actually is. I do admit to certainly enjoying these recordings that I have linked to, and he is obviously a very talented pianist.

Over to you – what are your thoughts on Teddy Wilson?

PS – although I do have a long list of Wilsons still to cover, just wanted to know if anyone else was interested in writing up a column concerning one of your favourite Wilsons. This doesn’t have to be exclusively my column. Let me know if interested.

9 thoughts on “Wilson Wednesday – Teddy Wilson

  1. Chimes in well with what I have been listening to, Les McCann and Billy Childs. Thanks for a lovely introduction.

    • No worries Ravi, glad you enjoyed it. He seems to have a pretty impressive resume with all the big names that he has performed with!

  2. He is a terrific swing pianist, I love the way he fills out the concert performance of “Take The A Train” with little fills and so on. Interestingly, he appears to be playing with only nine fingers. Did he have problem with his right index finger?

    I loved his “Live At The Onyx Club” album too, terrific.

    YouTube also threw this one up, again, superb stuff – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDesCGeGLL4

    • great, glad you liked it.

      And Carole, great spot re the finger. I found this on a blog site on the internet, so its not something with a verifiable accurate source, but it seems to fit.
      “…if you look closely at Teddy Wilson’s right hand you can see that he doesn’t have the use of his index finger, which he was unable to unbend. I believe that came about as the aftermath of a stroke and it caused him a lot of problems in later life although he carried on playing well into the 1980s. …”

      Amazing to think he is playing that will in that clip, but probably frustrated that he can’t play as well as he could!

    • glad you liked it too, and that Teddy seems to have been a hit so far. See my reply to Carole above regarding the finger – its either true or a good story!!

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