About Edwin Wilcox
Some of the most relaxed, lyrically swinging and downright charismatic arrangements of the Jimmie Lunceford band came from this talented performer, best summed up by one Edwin Wilcox's own song titles: "Sweet Rhythm". His composing method seems to have absorbed something of his small hometown of Method's composure. Lunceford was attracted to the limber, sometimes casual Carolina blues styles, and his musical relationship with Wilcox was extremely sympathetic, to the point that the latter man felt no pangs about carrying on the band's mission after its leader had died in 1947. This posthumous Lunceford band was at first fronted by Wilcox in partnership with tenor saxophonist Joe Thomas, but by the early '50s the pianist had assumed sole leadership. He was happy to continue programming many of the arrangements he had written for the group including "Miss Otis Regrets", "Rhythm is Our Business", "Impromptu", "Like a Ship At Sea", "Knock Me a Kiss", and "Easy Street". Wilcox literally seemed to write music about the Lunceford band itself, most notably the outrageous "Flaming Reeds and Screaming Brass".
He began playing piano in high school, gigging with local bands. By 1927 he had a music degree, but a more important aftermath of his time at Fisk University was having met Lunceford there. He would not join the Lunceford outfit until 1929, in the meantime comping with drum beater Beaty Connel in New Jersey. Wilcox stayed put after that, gig-wise. His solo career picks up after 1949, when for a few years he was juggling the remains of the Lunceford band, still pretty substantial, with his own small groups which emphasized rhythm & blues. In the late '50s and early '60s he was something of a fixture on the New York scene at clubs such as the Cafe Riviera and the Pink Poodle. He also wrote arrangements for bandleader Ed Hall, gigged with Teddy McRae and for a time managed an independent record label, Raecox. One of the pianist's final gigs was in Canada in a band led by "Big Chief" Russell Moore. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi