Classic Brunswick & Columbia Teddy Wilson Sessions 1934-42

Mosaic Records Limited Edition Box Set


Classic Brunswick & Columbia Teddy Wilson Sessions 1934-42
His improvisatory genius at the keyboard, and the inspiration that his artistry and deportment radiated — for that alone, Teddy Wilson remains a seminal influence on jazz well into its second century. - Loren Schoenberg, liner notes
Limited Edition: 5,000 copies

7 CDs -  $119.00


This Is What Swing Is
From The Moment Teddy Wilson Defined It

"Definitive" is the point of view behind every Mosaic box set. The goal is to do it right, and do it for the ages, because that's what we'd demand. But never could the term be used more appropriately than with our new collection featuring Swing's most important pianist, Teddy Wilson.

Mosaic Records is proud to announce the release of "Classic Brunswick and Columbia Teddy Wilson Sessions 1934-1942." It's the most massive volume we've ever released featuring Wilson, and it's a greater selection than we've been able to offer previously because we weren't limited to just his trio work.

Plus, this retrospective begins as Wilson was launching his amazing recording career - all of the polish and lyricism he'd become known for with the added bonus of that indescribable feeling of spontaneity and invention. It's also a larger set then the 1950s Verve recordings we packaged years ago, with seven CDs and 169 tracks - including 20 newly discovered tracks never heard before this collection.

The earliest recordings catch Wilson at just 22, as he was beginning to shed the influence of his early mentors Fats Waller and Earl Hines to create the sound that would be synonymous with swing and would go on to influence generations of piano players. He can be heard in a variety of settings - in solo recordings, trios, quartets, and small orchestras of eight to 14 pieces or so, as well as on recordings that feature vocalists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Helen Ward, Lena Horne and others.

Pristine Source Material, Vintage Quality We've gone back to the original 16" lacquer discs, metal parts, lovingly-preserved test pressings, and mint 78s in most cases to find the most pristine source material for you to hear this music as it was meant to be heard.

What you won't hear are the songs from this era with Wilson backing Billie Holiday. Those recordings have been packaged and re-packaged endlessly, and most everyone knows them or owns them. They are brilliant, but they over-shadow everything else Wilson recorded in those years. The time has come to celebrate the rest from this brilliant artist and leader, who despite his youth was so fertile and inspirational.

Elegant, Impeccable and Almost Other-Worldly

He began almost immediately to lead his own small groups on recording sessions. Very early on, he established a style that was less percussive and rollicking that Waller's, less experimental and searching than Hines'. Even at fast, aggressive tempos his playing wasn't as assertive as his slightly older contemporaries. He didn't punch, shout or challenge. Teddy Wilson just flat-out swung, with a left hand that suggested greater harmonic complexity, and a right hand that was truly virtuosic. His command? Elegant. His tempos? Impeccable. His ear, and his ability to anticipate and respond in an ensemble? Almost other-worldly.

There are so many different small "orchestras" featured. One includes Roy Eldridge, Ben Webster, John Kirby, and Cozy Cole. Another features Jonah Jones and Harry Carney. Johnny Hodges makes an appearance in another group setting, as does Benny Goodman with Lionel Hampton. Other all-stars include Pee Wee Russell, Bobby Hackett, Bennie Morton, Bill Coleman, Ben Webster, Frankie Newton, and more.

An Early "Concept" Album

A quartet date puts him alongside Harry James and Red Norvo. And there are 60 solo piano performances, where Wilson has the room to himself or shares with Al Hall and J.C. Heard on bass and drums. The teaming with Hall and Heard was for one of the first jazz albums - in those days, a portfolio of 78s sold in one package - called "Columbia Presents Teddy Wilson." Our presentation of it includes many previously unissued alternates.

Like many, Wilson tried to run his own larger orchestra in 1939 and 1940, and like many before and after him, found it challenging to stay afloat. There has never been enough attention paid to this music, but we have every commercial release including his signature "Jumpin' On The Blacks and Whites," Sweet Lorraine," "Liza," "The Man I Love," "Sweet Lorraine," Embraceable You…" the list goes on and on.

We had to leave a few things out because of space constraints and our contract with Sony. Both takes of "I've Found a New Baby" appear on our Count Basie/Lester Young set, and sessions from May 14-15, 1936 and December 17, 1937 are included in our Chu Berry set if those packages are on your shelf.

Don't Miss Out

Scholar, historian, Grammy-winner - and Teddy Wilson student! -- Loren Schoenberg has written our exclusive booklet. We've also included many rare photographs and corrected out of date discoveries.

Our collection of Wilson's music for Verve recorded in the 1950s, released years ago on Mosaic, was a sell-out and will never be available in that form again. Given the importance of these earlier recordings, before his performances and interpretations were locked in, we expect this to be a sell-out as well. Please don't miss out on some of the most satisfying recordings you will own, in our -- yes, we'll say it -- definitive presentation.

Read More About TeddyWilson:
Track Listing, Personnel & Recording Dates »

  • Booklet
  • Audio Quality
  • Photography
  • Sample Session Notes
We’ve waxed poetic about Loren Schoenberg’s insightful writing many times and he has become almost a “house” writer for us just as Dan Morgenstern, Bob Blumenthal and others have been. Again, Loren takes us inside the music and even if you’ve heard the records before after reading the notes you’ll have a new appreciation of the music.

We were fortunate to have mainly lacquer discs, metal parts and a number of test pressings to use as sources for this set. The Chicago date of April 11, 1941 came to us from the original 16” lacquer disc and includes a huge number of never before heard alternate takes that are presented in the order they were recorded. Thankfully for those performances that were missing we had mint 78s to transfer.

Photo Copyright © Protected
You’ll find a number of rare and never before seen photos that accompany the Teddy Wilson Brunswick and Columbia set. Of particular interest are a number of images of Wilson’s short lived big band from the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper and some that last appeared in Metronome magazine in October of 1939. There are also some photos of the small group Teddy led at Café Society after his days with the big band were over. These were taken not at Café Society but when the group held forth at the Pump Room in Chicago and broadcasting over NBC radio.

(J) Los Angeles, August 24, 1936 The music on this session reveals the Goodman/Wilson magic in full flower; just days before, they had jammed with Lionel Hampton for the first time, which led to the first Goodman Quartet recording (Moonglow).

What resulted was a new kind of spontaneous coherence both in solo and ensemble playing that sounded like nothing heard in jazz before. This largely forgotten session is the only time that the quartet recorded together as part of another unit.

Benny probably had never played with the pianist as good as Teddy Wilson.” The inspiration clearly went both ways. Wilson, after one particularly brilliant lightning flash of a Goodman solo, turned to Otis Ferguson and said “That Benny Goodman is the greatest musician I ever heard.” His pianism had continued to flower; listen for the integration of the left hand chords and figures into the improvisation. They are no longer just punctuations or accompaniment but an equal part in the narrative.

We also hear his different styles of accompaniment, whether they be single right-hand notes for Hampton’s vibes, giving him freer reign to recast the harmonies as he wished, sparkling arpeggios for the ensemble, or subtle echoes and prods to Goodman.

Hampton wasn’t the only newcomer to the Goodman fold on this date — we also hear the debut of tenor saxophonist Vido Musso. In this early stage of his career, he fearlessly tore through his florid solos, hearing his way around the harmonies, sometimes making beautiful blunders that a more schooled player never would have lucked into.

Griffin is back on the trumpet, and has gained notably in confidence. Pay close attention to the guitar: Allan Reuss, a superlative player who had studied with George Van Eps in New York, was intrigued by Wilson’s harmonic imagination and frequently would play along during Wilson’s intermission sets. This was the first of over a dozen of these sessions he would appear on.


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  Astonishing music, wonderful transfers and excellent documentation.
This is a marvelous set. I think that Teddy Wilson, Art Tatum and Fats Waller were the three greatest jazz pianists of the golden era; Ive heard more of the Tatum and Waller records, so discovering these Wilson sides is a great education. The recordings he made with Billie Holiday have been reissued ad infinitum and Im well familiar with those, so its great to have the other sides -- the vocalists are only of the caliber of Ella Fitzgerald. The small band sides swing mightily, but I think the piano solos are even more impressive, as Teddy sounds like a full band all by himself. Thank you, Mosaic Records folks, for yet another wonderful gift to all of us who love vintage jazz.
  A must-have for fans of swing
I have been waiting for this material to appear for decades. Now its here and its even better than I had hoped. Many of the usual suspects from the swing era, and of course the magnificent Mr. Wilson at his absolute best. Dont dally. Buy it before its gone, because itll never be back again.
  A Five Star Set With Incredible Music
I cant say enough about this excellent Teddy Wilson set which features solo piano, instrumental small group swing and small group swing with vocals. Often, I dislike the vocalists, yet here all the female vocalists are very fine. Ive only listened to this set, which just arrived, once through so far -- but it will be returning to my CD player again and again. One of my favorite Mosaic discoveries!
  Oh yes
Fun set, lots of variety from solo to orchestra/big band. Wilson is so casual in his consistently magical way.
  Must have
Woah! I just finished listening to all seven CDs. Im generally not a fan of multiple takes but Teddys variations from one take to the next are truly fascinating and well worth your time to listen. You wont find the Billie Holiday material here, but the small group sessions with Helen Ward and Nan Wynn ! have wonderful surprises. Where else can you find this material so well packaged and reasonably priced in 2018? The notes by Loren Schoenberg make the material all that more accessible. One of my favorite Mosaic sets. This one is destined to be a desirable collectors item.
Agreed! The piano is amazing, and very well recorded.
  Its True
In this set Teddy Wilson is so good one can start to take that for granted. No matter what the setting and what the material Wilson is so consistently superb its startling.
  Teddy W.
The sound quality throughout this set is remarkably good. Mr. Wilson didnt play with medicore musicians, thats another consistent trait of this set. Even with the weaker material the musicianship of the orchestras and Mr. Wilsons piano is notable. With the stronger material/compositions the bands are tremendous. Other highlights of the set are the solo and small group tracks.
  Unparalleled !
Finally. The Teddy Wilson Big Band sessions in their entirety. Of course thats just the icing on this cake. Mosaic is the apogee of reissue labels.
  Mr. Wilson
Great piano, great musicians, and excellent sound quality. Everything I had hoped for to do Mr. Wilsons music justice. Well, justice has been served. The booklet is wonderful.

Classic Brunswick & Columbia Teddy Wilson Sessions 1934-42
Classic Brunswick & Columbia Teddy Wilson Sessions 1934-42
Limited Edition: 5,000 copies
7 CDs - $119.00

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