San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

February 2nd, 2010
Durham celebration to take place Friday

020210durhamSan Marcos native and jazz guitar great Eddie Durham.


Trumpeter Joe Wilder, who played with such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie and Billie Holliday, will join noted jazz archivist Dan Morgenstern Friday at the Eddie Durham Jazz Celebration to be held at Texas State’s Evans Auditorium.

The annual event put on by Texas State’s Department of Jazz Studies and Center for Texas Music History remembers Durham (1906-87), the San Marcos native who is widely credited as a pioneer of amplified guitar. Durham influenced fellow Texan Charlie Christian, who broke ground in bebop and cool jazz after breaking out with Benny Goodman’s Sextet and Orchestra just before World War II.

Durham worked with esteemed swing era bands such as the Blue Devils, Bennie Moten, Count Basie and Jimmie Lunceford. Durham composed or arranged for these bands such classics as “Moten Swing,” “Swinging the Blues,” “Topsy,” “One O’Clock Jump” and “Jumpin’ at the Woodside.”  He also arranged music for Artie Shaw and Glenn Miller, including one of Miller’s greatest and most famous hits, “In the Mood.”

This event is free, and open to students, faculty, and the general public.

Wilder, born in 1922, broke in with Les Hite’s band in 1941 and thrived through the 1940s and 1950s with the orchestras of Jimmie Lunceford, Herbie Fields, Sam Donahue, Lucky Millinder, Noble Sissle, Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie. Wilder also became a favorite with vocalists including Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Johnny Mathis, Harry Belafonte, Eileen Farrell, Tony Bennett, and many others.

After earning his bachelor’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music, he performed on several occasions with the New York Philharmonic under Andre Kostolanitz and Pierre Boulez. Wilder is the only surviving member of the Count Basie All-Star Orchestra that appeared in the classic 1959 film, “The Sound of Jazz.”

Morgenstern, a Grammy-winning jazz writer and archivist, moved from his native Germany to the United States in 1947, when the big bands were in their glory days. After attending Brandeis University, Morgenstern launched his career as a jazz music journalist in 1958 and went on to write and edit for some of the premier jazz publications in America, including Metronome, Jazz and Down Beat.

Morgenstern is the author of the books Jazz People and Living with Jazz. After becoming director of Rutgers University’s Institute of Jazz Studies in 1976, he helped build a world-class collection of jazz documents, recordings, and memorabilia. Morgenstern is widely known for his comprehensive, authoritative liner notes, a sideline that has garnered him seven Grammy Awards for Best Album Notes since 1973.

For more information regarding the Eddie Durham Jazz Celebration, call (512) 245-2185.

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