"Joe Wilder set the table. His struggles made it easier for me and many others."--From the Foreword by Wynton Marsalis Trumpeter Joe Wilder is distinguished for his achievements in both the jazz and classical worlds. He was a founding member of the Symphony of the New World, where he played first trumpet, and he performed as lead trumpet and soloist with Lionel Hampton, Jimmy Lunceford, Dizzy Gillespie, and Count Basie. Yet Wilder is also known as a pioneer who broke down racial barriers, the first African American to hold a principal chair in a Broadway show orchestra, and one of the first African Americans to join a network studio orchestra. In Softly, with Feeling, Edward Berger tells Wilder's remarkable story-from his growing up in working-class Philadelphia to becoming one of the first 1,000 black Marines during World War II-with tremendous feeling and extensive reminiscences by Wilder and his colleagues, including renowned Philadelphia-area musicians Jimmy Heath and Buddy DeFranco. Berger also places Wilder's experiences within a broader context of American musical and social history. Wilder's modesty and ability to perform in many musical genres may have prevented him from achieving popular recognition, but in Softly, with Feeling, his legacy and contributions to music and culture are assured.
Edward Berger is a writer/photographer, whose other books include Benny Carter: A Life in American Music (with Morroe Berger and James Patrick) and Bassically Speaking: An Oral History of George Duvivier. He produced two Grammy-winning albums for jazz great Benny Carter, and has been a long-time co-host of Jazz from the Archives on WBGO-FM, Newark. He retired as Associate Director of the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies in 2011, but continues to serve IJS as a consultant.
Foreword by Wynton Marsalis Preface Acknowledgments 1 The Making of a Musician: Philadelphia (1922-1938) Musical Beginnings Colored Kiddies of the Air: "Little Louis" Meets Pops William T. Tilden Junior High School 2 From Student to Pro (1938-1943) Mastbaum The Harlem Dictators Leaving Home: Les Hite Lionel Hampton 3 Integration of the Armed Forces: The Montford Point Marines (1943-1946) 4 Big Band Odyssey (1946-1950) Hampton Redux Jimmie Lunceford Dizzy Gillespie Lucky Millinder Sam Donahue Herbie Fields 5 New York (1950-1953) Noble Sissle and the Diamond Horseshoe Breaking Barriers on Broadway Wilder on Broadway Manhattan School of Music 6 On the Road Again: Count Basie (1953-1954) 7 Back on Broadway and into the Studios (1954-1957) Silk Stockings and Most Happy Fella The Urban League: Integrating the Music Industry Developing a Style: Recordings in the 1950s From Mainstream to Third Stream 8 On Staff: African American Musicians and the Network Orchestras (1957-1964) Wilder Joins ABC The Studio Life The Urban League: Integrating the Network Orchestras Record Dates: Sideman and Leader "The Sound of Jazz" Benny Goodman: USSR Tour Miss America Pageant Family Life 9 A Dream Realized: Return to Classical Music (1964-1974) African Americans in Symphony Orchestras: The Beginnings of Change The Symphony of the New World The 1969 Human Rights Commission Hearings Earl Madison's Reflections Other Classical Activities Wilder and Wilder: Joe and Alec 1960s Recordings 10 Freelance (1974-1990) The End of the Staff Orchestras Peter Duchin and the Society Orchestra Phenomenon Return to Broadway 1980s Recordings 11 New Outlets: Jazz Repertory and Jazz Parties (1990-2000) Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion The Jazz Party Phenomenon 12 Passing It On: Teaching, Awards, and Honors (2000-) Juilliard Awards and Honors The Reluctant Leader Recordings in the New Millennium: Evening Star Arbors Records and the Statesmen of Jazz Coda Notes Discography/Solography Index