Joe Lee Wilson

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Joe Lee Wilson (December 22, 1935 - July 17, 2011) was an American gospel-influenced jazz singer, originally from Bristow, Oklahoma. His voice is best recognized from several Archie Shepp albums recorded for Impulse! Records.

Biography

Wilson was born to farming parents in Bristow. He was part African American and part Creek Native American.

As his band's name, Joy of Jazz, suggests, Wilson's baritone personified the life-affirming nature of jazz and blues. Seeing Billie Holiday perform in 1951 began his interest in a career in music industry. He studied in Los Angeles before touring the West Coast, where he sat in with Sarah Vaughan, and down to Mexico. In New York in the 1960s, he worked with Sonny Rollins, Lee Morgan, Miles Davis, Pharoah Sanders and Jackie McLean; during the 1970s, he operated a jazz performance loft in New York's NoHo district known as the Ladies' Fort at 2 Bond Street. His regular band, Joe Lee Wilson Plus 5, featured the alto saxophonist Monty Waters (from Modesto, California) and for several years the Japanese guitarist, Ryo Kawasaki, before the latter left to lead his own group. Archie Shepp, and Eddie Jefferson were frequent collaborators at these sessions.

He also sang with Eddie Jefferson, Freddie Hubbard, and Kenny Dorham. He recorded a live radio program at WKCR-FM, Columbia University, on July 16, 1972, which was released as an album, Livin' High Off Nickels & Dimes, on the short-lived...
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