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This Week in Texas Music History: Teddy Wilson

by Stephen Becker 30 Jul 2010 5:13 PM

This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll celebrate a musician who played in one of the first racially-integrated bands to gain national popularity.


Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman celebrates a musician who played in one of the first racially-integrated bands to gain national popularity.

You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Friday on KXT and Saturday on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KERA radio’s 90.1 at Night.

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Jazz pianist Teddy Wilson died on July 31, 1986. Born in Austin on November 24, 1912, Wilson studied piano at the all-black Tuskegee Institute. During the early 1930s, he performed alongside such jazz greats as Louis Armstrong and Erskine Tate. In 1936, Wilson began touring with white swing artists Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa in one of the first interracial bands to achieve national fame. Despite the group’s popularity, Wilson was not allowed to stay in the same hotels as his white band mates. Teddy Wilson performed with a number of notable artists over the years, including Billie Holiday. He also appeared on television and in movies and taught piano at the prestigious Julliard School of Music.

  • I think Teddy Wilson was one of te best jazz pianist in the 20th century. His ‘smoothly’style of playing was very agreeable to listen to. It was very nice to see him playing, calmly, refined and
    civilised. With Errol Garner and Bill Evans he was my favourate pianist. Unfortunetly he died tot early.

    Henk van Steenbruggen
    Curieplaats 363

    3069 HJ Rotterdam ( The Netherlands)