George Wallington (October 27, 1924 – February 15, 1993) was an American jazz pianist and composer.

George Wallington
Birth nameGiacinto Figlia
Born(1924-10-27)October 27, 1924
Palermo, Sicily
DiedFebruary 15, 1993(1993-02-15) (aged 68)
Cape Coral, Miami, Florida
Years active1940s–1993

Early life Edit

Wallington was born Giacinto Figlia (some sources give "Giorgio"[1][2]) in Sicily, and then moved to the United States (New York) with his family in 1925.[3] His father sang opera and introduced his son to classical music, but Wallington listened to jazz after hearing the music of saxophonist Lester Young.[3] He said that he acquired the name Wallington in high school: "I like to wear flashy clothes [...] and the kids in the neighborhood would say, 'Hey, look at Wallington!'"[3] He left school at the age of 15 to play piano in New York.[3]

Later life and career Edit

From 1943 to 1953, Wallington played with Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Marsala, Charlie Parker, Serge Chaloff, Allen Eager, Kai Winding, Terry Gibbs, Brew Moore, Al Cohn, Gerry Mulligan, Zoot Sims, and Red Rodney, and recorded as a leader for Savoy and Blue Note (1950). Wallington toured Europe in 1953 with Lionel Hampton's big band.[4] In 1954-60, he led bands in New York that contained rising musicians including Donald Byrd, Jackie McLean, and Phil Woods.[4]

From 1954 to 1960, he led groups in New York that included newcomers Donald Byrd, Jackie McLean, and Phil Woods, recording as leader with these musicians for the Prestige and Atlantic labels.

In 1960, Wallington stopped playing music and moved to Florida[3] to work in the family air conditioning business,[4] citing the stress of endless touring. He returned to music in 1984 and recorded three albums, Virtuoso in 1984, Symphony of a Jazz Piano in 1986 and Pleasure of a Jazz Inspiration in 1992.[4] He also performed at the 1985 Kool Jazz Festival in New York.[3]

Compositions Edit

His best-known compositions are "Lemon Drop" (which gained attention when played by Woody Herman in the late 1940s),[5][6] and "Godchild" (one of the pieces played for The Birth of the Cool recordings led by Miles Davis).[3]

Discography Edit

As leader Edit

Year recorded Title Label Personnel/Notes
1949–51 The George Wallington Trios and Septet Savoy Trios, with Curly Russell (bass), Charlie Perry (drums), and Russell (bass), Max Roach (drums); septet with Jerry Lloyd (trumpet), Kai Winding (trombone), Brew Moore (tenor sax), Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax), Russell (bass), Perry (drums)
1952–53 The George Wallington Trio Prestige Trios, with Curly Russell (bass), Max Roach (drums), and Oscar Pettiford (bass), Roach (drums)
1954 Trios RCA Vogue With Pierre Michelot
1954 The Workshop of the George Wallington Trio Verve Trio, with Curly Russell (bass), Art Taylor (drums)
1954? Showcase Blue Note Septet, with Dave Burns, Jimmy Cleveland, Danny Bank, Frank Foster, Oscar Pettiford, Kenny Clarke[7]
1954? George Wallington with Strings Norgran With violin, viola, cello, bass[8]
1955 Live at the Café Bohemia Progressive Quintet, with Donald Byrd (trumpet), Jackie McLean (alto sax), Paul Chambers (bass), Art Taylor (drums)
1956 Jazz for the Carriage Trade Prestige 1 Trio track, Quintet, with Donald Byrd (trumpet), Phil Woods (alto sax), Teddy Kotick (bass), Art Taylor (drums)
1956 Metronome All-Stars 1956 Clef One solo piano track "Lady Fair"
1956 Knight Music Atlantic Trio, with Teddy Kotick (bass) Nick Stabulas (drums)
1957 The New York Scene New Jazz 1 trio track, with Teddy Kotick (bass), Nick Stabulas (drums); 5 tracks quintet, with Donald Byrd (trumpet), Phil Woods (alto sax) added
1957 Jazz at Hotchkiss Savoy 1 Trio Track - Quintet, with Donald Byrd (trumpet), Phil Woods (alto sax), Knobby Totah (bass), Nick Stabulas (drums)
1957 The Prestidigitator East-West Some tracks with quartet with J.R. Monterose (tenor sax) ; some tracks quintet with Jerry Lloyd (bass trumpet) in addition
1957 Leonard Feather Presents Bop Mode George Wallington Quintet with Idrees Sulieman or Thad Jones and Phil Woods; Feather does not play
1984 Virtuoso Interface Solo piano
1985 The Pleasure of a Jazz Inspiration VSOP Solo piano
1986 The Symphony of a Jazz Piano Interface Solo piano

As sideman Edit

Year recorded Leader Title Label Notes
1946–49 Serge Chaloff We the People Bop Cool & Blue
1949 -1952 Stan Getz Zoot Sims The Brothers Prestige Wallington on the 1952 tracks Zoot Sims, Kai Winding, Al Cohn—Zoot Sims All Stars 1952
1950, 1954 Al Cohn Al Cohn's Tones Savoy
1949-1953 Stan Getz Early Stan Prestige Wallington on the 1949 tracks with Terry Gibbs
1951 Gerry Mulligan Mulligan Plays Mulligan Prestige Reissue of 10" LPs
1952 Annie Ross Annie Ross Sings Prestige Paired with King Pleasure Sings for reissues
1952 Gil Mellé Gil Mellé Quintet/Sextet Blue Note Four tracks, CD reissue on Mellé's The Complete Blue Note Fifties Sessions in 1998
1953 Lionel Hampton Oh! Rock Natasha
1957 Bobby Jaspar Bobby Jaspar with George Walligton, Idrees Sulieman Riverside

References Edit

  1. ^ DownBeat. Vol. 30. Maher Publications. 1963. p. 19.
  2. ^ Joseph F. Clarke (1977). Pseudonyms. BCA. p. 168.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Wilson, John S. (June 16, 1985) "Jazz". The New York Times. p. G2.
  4. ^ a b c d Yanow, Scott "George Wallington – Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  5. ^ Jazz Times Aug 2001 Page 113 "Wallington's tricky "Lemon Drop" is played at manic speed, with some breathtakingly sharp ensemble passages"
  6. ^ Jazz Monthly Issues 158-166 - p. 10 1968 "Woody Herman's "Lemon Drop" is on Capitol ...
  7. ^ "Reviews and Ratings of New Popular Albums". Billboard. Vol. 67, no. 2. January 8, 1955. p. 27.
  8. ^ "Reviews and Ratings of New Popular Albums". Billboard. Vol. 67, no. 4. January 22, 1955. p. 24.

External links Edit