The Gerald Wilson Interview

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On Detroit:
"My mother sent me to school there to go to Cass. Tech. There were no segregated schools in Detroit, MI. There were no segregated colleges in Detroit, Mi. We were second to Juilliard and we were a high school! Juilliard recently celebrated its 100 birthday but they have only had jazz for seven years now. Cass Tech had a symphony orchestra and three jazz bands in the school. They taught harmony, orchestration, percussion. They did a lot to improve the situation in jazz and of course some of the finest jazz musicians came from Detroit."I played with every black band in Detroit, MI. I ended up playing with Mckiney's Cotton Pickers and the Chocolate Dandies who were led by Benny Carter. Both of these bands were managed by Gene Goldcat. Gene owned the Greystone ballroom in Detroit. The Greystone ballroom was a club that black people could not go into but every Monday night was "black night" for black people. And it would feature one of the great black bands either Duke Ellington or Cab Calloway, Earl Hines or Jimmy Lunceford. By doing this Monday night music he helped improve the situation and give attention to jazz."

 

 

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