Speaker Well, I guess he is he detected Quincy's ability, Quincy, there was always a fine, inventive musician and.

Speaker He must've been a very observant one because he he incorporated a lot of things that he had prior to that point probably were just separate entities, but he was he was able to incorporate all these things and make something very interesting and and actually to get his own personality into it. He is very personable, personable guy and very compassionate. And all these ingredients, I think, are the things that probably attracted him to Dizzy because Dizzie was that kind of a person too dizzy was he was tough, but not tough in the in the in the sense that he'd browbeat you or anything like that. He was a perfectionist. And I think a lot of it is attributable to being an African-American musician. We came up in an era where just by virtue of being a musician and a little worse, being an African American musician, people tended to expect less of you. And I know for sure that guys like Dizzy and the fellows that I knew in Philadelphia where he got started, they were very concerned about the image of the African-American musicians even at that time, and they would do everything they could to dispel that stigma that seemed to be attached to the musicians, you know. And I think that's one of the one of the reasons to go. The two of them had so much in common.

Speaker That's great. Now, what if this movie wanted to rape me and just shoot you, right? They're always trying to make you everybody look better. That's all I can tell you about the tweaking.

Speaker What do you think? Why did Quincy connect so closely to count base? What did they have in common? What if Quincy learned from these?

Speaker Well, there again, I think that Count saw that here's a guy is a young musician who has a lot of talent and a lot of understanding of the styles and his style may have it probably reflected a little of the Basey era, because I think that all of us were affected by that, as we were by the other orchestras as far as the sound was concerned. And I think that he probably felt like a paternal kind of thing for Quincy, that he was a guy who if I had a son. This is the kind of guy I would follow. I'd want him to be, you know, and with they're kind of being who he was. He probably felt that miss, I can give him an opportunity to express himself and do some things with us and for us, you know.

Speaker Yes, that's true.

Speaker I don't know, I guess it's just sort of the nature of of the musicians. Trumpet players have always been somewhat the gregarious. And sometimes it gets a little cocky, too. That's not a cockatoo. That's cocky, too. But I think that that's just a part of it.

Speaker If you look at the symphony orchestras, only some of the most flamboyant, flamboyant guys in the orchestra are just not performers. And of course, they carry a lot of weight. They have a lot of responsibility.

Speaker Now, what about Lionel? Quincy Lionel chooses Quincy Hampton's band, kind of a proving ground for a lot of, you know, come up and you get a chance, maybe you go on from there, but sight. Lionel Hampton spanning tour all the time. Why, Quincy, why would it be natural for Quincy to get pulled into that or what would you learn?

Speaker I think you would have to give life no credit for that, because I played in Lionel's band. I played in his band with Joe Newman and Ernie Royle.

Speaker I can't think of. I can't. I'm not Carl. I can't think of everybody's names, all the guys think. But a tremendous number. And Lionel was always sort of seeking out younger players who had something different than than the ordinary players. And he added them to his band. And of course, his band was a very exciting band. And they had a different style. They had a style that during the time that I was with him was somewhat like the style of disease man, which is entirely different from any of the other bands that had preceded them. And Lionel had one of those swinging, swinging, swinging bands. You know, when you when you went to hear the Lionel had the man, you knew you'd be handshaking and stomping your feet as when you were more conservative, you did the same thing with bases band, you know, and I think that was a that's probably what it's like there.

Speaker And you could see in Quincy his his writing and his concept was something that was.

Speaker Was it easy to to to relate or to you utilizing in the bands that he was that he worked with and and wrote for? Because there's something about it that's such that I will say you're a Rembrandt photograph, you see. And even if you're not a connoisseur of art or something, you see something special in it. And that's what I do. And I give those bandleaders credit for. That's what they could see. And that's why maybe I ended up in some bands and other people, too. And that's one of the main reasons that Quincy was everywhere doing all those things.

Speaker That's great. Great answer.

Speaker What was it like touring? Was it like for the. Yeah, it yeah, it could be.

Speaker It was pretty rough, actually, and for the most part it was very demeaning very often. Now, we avoided most of a lot of that because, of course, we couldn't stand the white hotels and whatever towns we played in, usually in the South, there were black families that would rent rooms to the traveling musicians so that once one orchestra had been there and had more or less established a rapport with these people, then they were very receptive to letting the other band members come. When they came in, they were, in fact, sometimes seek us out, you know. So that that made a difference. It became a little awkward when some of the bands became integrated and I worked with them. Lucky Melinda's band. And I remember one incident we played in South Carolina and I think we had six of the musicians were white. And we got we arrived very early in Charleston and we were unloading the bus. And all of a sudden the sheriff, sheriff and his deputy came up in the police car and he said, who's in charge of this group? And Lucky Melinda said, I am. And he saw these photos. He said, well, I just want to tell you, you're going to be no mixed bands playing down here in Charleston.

Speaker And luckily, the guy said this is not a mixed band. And look at the deputies that like. Is he kidding? And so you guys all think yourselves little. He went to each individual, he said. You color in each of the follow said. Yes, in his way. He go from one to the other of the white musicians. And he finally got there.

Speaker And we had a trombonist named Zalman Cohen. We call him Porky cause he's kind of chubby. He was our first trombone player. We've got him. He's had a slight lisp. And he said, are you going to tell me you call it? And Porky said, Why, certainly. And at this point, we'd been standing there, like, biting our tongues and looking offered different directions. And the guy turned to the sheriff. Turns out the deputies are.

Speaker Well, yeah, I guess if they all say they can't say nothing, we can do about it is any he said, I guess not, Sheriff. And they got in the car and they drove off. But this might have been the first time that an integrated might have been.

Speaker I don't know for sure. The first time that an integrated band played it, Charles.

Speaker It was hysterical.

Speaker Right. Speak to, you know, African-Americans on Broadway and in the band.

Speaker Yeah. That, I guess, was one of the first times.

Speaker That was that was a Frank Loesser show.

Speaker And the same Assai future. And Ernie Martin, if you're on Martin Productions, they were the ones who produced the show.

Speaker And I think the choreographer was Michael Kidd. And it seems that either he or someone suggested that maybe we should try to add some black musicians to the orchestra.

Speaker So they hired me. They hired Benny Morton and Billy Kile on piano. Many was playing some moon. So we weren't playing Princeville chairs while we were in the orchestra. And at that time, I was working with Noval Sissela, the Diamond Horseshoe. And I got a call to do the shows. Or Noval said, look, are you supposed give me two weeks notice? And they were going to start like a week from the time that I had asked him. And I asked him if I could get out and go to China. So so he said, well, it might not be a bad idea because there are there are no. At that time we were Negroes. There are no Negroes playing in the Broadway shows. And maybe this will be a start. So he said, okay, I'll let you go. If you if you've gone beyond four weeks, I'll have to get a replacement. And I, I said, well, okay, I appreciate that. So the show ran three years and of course it was thanks to his his kindness that I was able to even do it, you know, but that's that's one.

Speaker And that's when we started actually in 1951.

Speaker The idea that Blash, there were like there were some all black shows and most of those there would have somewhat integrated talk shows, the majority of which would be black or a musician's shorty.

Speaker Yeah. Give us a topic.

Speaker Right, they they. Few of them had black musicians, but they do. One of the reasons I mean, I'm not I wouldn't make an excuse for it, but one of the reasons apparently was attributable to just what we've talked about earlier, about how you where you stayed when you went in the south. And there were many places where you couldn't get accommodations for them, for the black people in the show, if you had if you had any orchestra. There were places they just would not accept you, you know, and and I think they they just tried for a long time to avoid that problem.

Speaker And they it didn't help us, but they avoid it anyway.

Speaker Five fifty five.

Speaker Oh, well, I had done.

Speaker This was after I had done guys and our records and they decided well I furo here he was a trumpet player by the way and a fine and arranger in Hollywood before he got involved with producing shows and he took a liking to me and he said, you know, we have a new show coming in and we and like I'd like to have you play first trumpet. So I was flattered by that. And then he said, well, we'll ask Mr. Mr. Porter and ask Cole Porter if he had any objection to having a black musician playing principal troubled with the show. And he said, can the man replay my music?

Speaker And they said, yes, he can. He said, that's all that matters. So there again, I, I was struck it lucky, you know, one fine person to deal with. And then the next show that I did this was that was the first time they had an African-American musician playing a principal chair with a show like that. And the second time was with the most happy. Follow the show kozin in guys and in guys and dolls, or rather, I mean silk stockings. We had. Here I go again, we're having trouble remembering the art Lunde was in show. Joe Sullivan was in. It was a very, very nice nacio, really. It was like an opera. Like an operetta. That was most happy fall. I'm sorry.

Speaker That's just just first. It was silk stockings.

Speaker That was the Cole Porter Show. Yeah, I was.

Speaker Yeah, I was. I was in there at that time. I was the first African-American trumpet player to play principal chair with a Broadway show, especially that was going on tour. And. And it wasn't always easy either and not for them or for me, because we went to Boston and the contractor in the theater when he he asks who who is this guy or something in the in the road, a company contractor said, well, he's our first trumpet player. And this guy said, well, of all the top players in New York, how come you brought it and end up here? You know? And of course, I had to sort of control myself because I've got a short fuse with that kind of a thing. And. And I and I also thought, as nasty as he was, I mean, and he just had no inhibitions about it. And I thought, well, you know, maybe I've got to think Jackie Robinson, because I know he put up he had to put up with a lot. This is not nothing compared to what he did, but it was similar in a sense. And I just decided to ignore him and I ignored him through the whole run of the thing while it was on tour. I never had anything to do with him. And I had the same thing in Philadelphia when we first went over there. It didn't last as long as it did in in Boston. But the same comment I make of all the trumpet of why did you bring this guy over here? And.

Speaker But the the people see the difference is that the people with whom you're working are on such a high level. And the people who produce the show, Furin Martin and these people, they were such class people that it was it just took a few minutes for you to stop and say, well, wait a minute, that's some guy here, these people that I'm with or are not like that. And that's that's how I survive it.

Speaker You know?

Speaker Yeah, but that's. And there were some wonderful people. There were some wonderful people.

Speaker Let me ask you a question. I ask everybody that Quincy Jones, because it's a broad question. Answer however you like.

Speaker Who is Quincy Jones?

Speaker Well, Quincy Jones, I think, is probably the epitome of achievement as far is not as a black musician, but just as a musician who seems to know where he was going, what he wanted to do, and was smart enough to study all the things related there to, you know, that would propel him to where he is today. And he's he's done it. The thing that I take my hat off to him before is he's done it with such class and he's always been a compassionate guy. He's as friendly towards me today as he was the first time he ever saw me. And he's one of the greatest entrepreneurs we have, white or black today. But that's what makes him different from so many people. You have a lot of people who are social climbers and who have achieved great success, but their success is measured in how much space there is between them and the people below them. You know, and that's not Quincy. He's he's a wonderful human being.

Speaker When you're on the stage, I well, I enjoy him because.

Speaker Right.

Speaker Well, first of all, he knows what he's written. He knows how he wants to play. And he's capable of giving the precise direction that brings out the very things that he wants to get from his music. When you when he's conducting, you see him conducting not a whole lot of this or with a big baton, just precise little cues and things that not only are parts are right for the music, but make you feel that you've done something because he he's he's bringing the best out of you with it. You know, he I like to watch it is a joy to watch.

Speaker You're gonna be okay. Your story cross-industry. Oh, right. You're.

Speaker The last big question is. What do you think jazz means to Quincy? What it means to Quincy.

Speaker Well, I guess. It's in a sense, his baby.

Speaker And that's a fact, the topic.

Speaker Well, I think that the reason it's important is because it's sort of like his baby in a way. Quincy came in at a time when jazz was sort of faltering and I guess it was faltering because there was a certain sameness to most of what people heard. Even though the bands had their different styles, it represented a certain era. You could hear in the music the period of the Depression and other historical periods of the history of the country. But when these fellows that Quincy and him in particular came along with different ideas, they would take a similar melody that had been played over and over again. And as Benny Goodman said, ladies dressed up in a new dress or something, it's it's that kind of a thing. You take it and change it to the extent you never lost them a lot of the line of it. But it was embellished in such a way that it became like a different thing altogether. And I think that's that's what gave a boost to to to jazz, because now, instead of laying dormant where it had been, it's sort of moving forward and in a different in a different style. You.

Joe Wilder
Interview Date:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
cpb-aacip-504-3f4kk94t1f, cpb-aacip-504-bz6154fb55
"Joe Wilder, Quincy Jones: In The Pocket." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 20 Jul. 2001,
(2001, July 20). Joe Wilder, Quincy Jones: In The Pocket. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET).
"Joe Wilder, Quincy Jones: In The Pocket." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). July 20, 2001. Accessed December 01, 2021


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