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Joe Wilder, Dan Morgenstern headline Eddie Durham Jazz Celebration

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
February 2, 2010

Eddie Durham

Eddie Durham

The Eddie Durham Jazz Celebration will be held Feb. 5 in Evans Auditorium at Texas State University-San Marcos.

Named for jazz guitar pioneer and San Marcos native Eddie Durham, this program features Texas State student ensembles and a guest combo performing music composed, arranged and influenced by Durham. This year’s event welcomes legendary trumpeter Joe Wilder and noted jazz scholar Dan Morgenstern, both of whom were named “NEA Jazz Master” by the National Endowment of the Arts.

This event is free, and open to students, faculty, and the general public. A part of the Hill Country Jazz Festival, the event is presented by the Department of Jazz Studies in the Texas State School of Music, and the Center for Texas Music History in the Department of History.

Joe Wilder was born in Colwyn, Pennsylvania in 1922, and his first performances took place on the radio program, "Parisian Tailor's Colored Kiddies of the Air," backed up by such illustrious bands as Duke Ellington's and Louis Armstrong's. He joined his first touring big band, Les Hite's band, in 1941. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Wilder's talents were featured in the orchestras of Jimmie Lunceford, Herbie Fields, Sam Donahue, Lucky Millinder, Noble Sissle, Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie. In addition to a successful solo recording career, he became a favorite with vocalists including Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Johnny Mathis, Harry Belafonte, Eileen Farrell, Tony Bennett and many others.

Wilder returned to school in the 1950s, earning a bachelor's degree at the Manhattan School of Music where he was also principal trumpet with the school's symphony orchestra under conductor Jonel Perlea. At that time, he performed on several occasions with the New York Philharmonic under Andre Kostolanitz and Pierre Boulez. He is the only surviving member of the Count Basie All-Star Orchestra that appeared in the classic 1959 film The Sound of Jazz.

Dan Morgenstern is a Grammy-winning jazz writer and archivist. Born in Germany, he moved to the United States in 1947 – a vibrant era for jazz music. After attending Brandeis University, he launched his career as a jazz music journalist in 1958. He went on to write and edit for some of the premier jazz publications in America, including Metronome, Jazz and Down Beat. He is the author of the books Jazz People and Living with Jazz. In 1976 he was named director of Rutgers University's Institute of Jazz Studies, where he helped build a world-class collection of jazz documents, recordings, and memorabilia. Morgenstern is widely known as a prolific writer of comprehensive, authoritative liner notes, a sideline that has garnered him seven Grammy Awards for Best Album Notes since 1973.

About Eddie Durham

Eddie Durham was born in San Marcos on August 19, 1906, and died on March 6, 1987. A prolific composer, arranger and instrumentalist, Durham is widely credited with being a pioneer of amplified guitar, influencing fellow Texan Charlie Christian, who became one of the most important guitarists in jazz history. Durham worked with iconic swing era bands including the Blue Devils, Bennie Moten, Count Basie and Jimmie Lunceford. The tunes Durham composed or arranged for these bands include such classics as "Moten Swing," "Swinging the Blues," "Topsy," "One O'Clock Jump" and "Jumpin' at the Woodside." In addition, he arranged music for Artie Shaw and Glenn Miller, including one of Miller's greatest and most famous hits, "In the Mood." For more information visit www.EddieDurhamJazz.webs.com.

For more information regarding the Eddie Durham Jazz Celebration, call (512) 245-2185.