Cultural Percussionist

Ernie Wilkins Day

Ernest Brooks Wilkins Jr. (July 20, 1922 – June 5, 1999) was an American jazz saxophonist, conductor and arranger who spent several years with Count Basie. He also wrote for Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, and Dizzy Gillespie. He was musical director for albums by Cannonball Adderley, Dinah Washington, Oscar Peterson, and Buddy Rich.

Wilkins was born in St. Louis, Missouri. In his early career he played in a military band, before joining Earl Hines‘s last big band. He worked with Count Basie from 1951 to 1955, eventually leaving to work free-lance as a jazz arranger and songwriter. His success declined in the 1960s, but revived after work with Clark Terry, leading to a tour of Europe.

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