Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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WILDER, Joe

(b 22 February 1922, Colwyn PA; d 9 May 2014) Trumpet, flugelhorn. He combined classical training with jazz in a low- profile career, highly regarded by other musicians. He played with Les Hite, Lionel Hampton, Jimmie Lunceford etc; settled in NYC '47; worked with Noble Sissle, in Broadway pit bands; studied with Joseph Alessi, first trumpet in Toscanini's NBC Symphony, played Bach under conductor Jonel Perlea, etc. He was featured on Count Basie's Softly With Feeling '54; played in film soundtrack The Wild Party '56; ABC network staff musician '57-73 (played in bands on Jack Paar and Dick Cavett shows), then back to Broadway. He played first chair with Symphony of the New World '65-71, at Colorado Jazz Party from '72.

He sessioned in concerts and/or records with the New York Philharmonic, Benny Goodman (including the USSR tour '62), big-band recording sessions with Ralph Burns, Jimmy Giuffre; also Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Roberta Flack, Charles Mingus (Let My People Hear Music), etc. A Golden Crest LP '63 included Alec Wilder's Sonata for Trumpet and Piano, written for Joe (no relation). He played beautifully on pieces commissioned by Brandeis U. '57 (now on Birth Of The Third Steam; see Gunther Schuller). He soloed with immaculate tone and selection of notes, never too many: 'You try not to trample on a nice melody.' His own records on Savoy and Columbia are long out of print; he played on Benny Carter: A Gentleman And His Music, co-led quintet album Hangin' Out with Joe Newman and Hank Jones, both on Concord. His first album as a leader in 30 years was Alone With My Dreams '96 on Evening Star, a tiny independent in New Jersey.