Swingin' with Wig · Classic Trio Sessions 1956-1957 (2-CD)
  • Crown CLP 5289
    Crown CLP 5289
  • Contemporary S7595
    Contemporary S7595
  • Dig J-102
    Dig J-102
  • Motif ML-504
    Motif ML-504
  • Gerald Wiggins
    Gerald Wiggins

Gerald Wiggins

Swingin' with Wig · Classic Trio Sessions 1956-1957 (2-CD)

Fresh Sound Records

Gerald Wiggins (p), Gene Wright, Joe Comfort (b), Bill Richmond, Bill Douglass (d), Jackie Mills (d, perc)

Reference: FSRCD1141

Bar code: 8427328611411


Gerald Wiggins (1922-2008), also known as Jerry Wiggins or affectionately as “Wig,” was a long-respected but often overlooked jazz pianist. He greatly esteemed for his accompaniment work with luminaries like Lena Horne, Helen Humes, and Kay Starr, rather than his substantial jazz prowess. Being an exceptional accompanist for singers required the sort of sensitivity, the type of warm and helpful personality, the courage to sublimate that personality momentarily in the interests of a good performance.

He was the kind of jazz musician who is unspectacular, who was not a brash innovator nor in any sense a flamboyant character. Yet it was musicians like him who provide the great body of jazz music with its virtues.

His idol was Art Tatum, and he held a strong affection for both Teddy Wilson and Oscar Peterson. His playing also resonates with echoes of modernists and stylists, including Erroll Garner and Duke Ellington.

His variety of jobs in the profession ranged from accompanying singers to playing in big bands, including those of Louis Armstrong, Benny Carter, Gerald Wilson, Jerry Fielding, and Harry James. Wiggins showcased his versatility in trio and solo performances in small clubs, leaving his mark on various recording dates in different roles. This is precisely the sort of jazz musician Gerald Wiggins was.

The essence of Wiggins’ music lies in its powerful swing, infused with sensitivity and a delightful sense of fun. These Trio Sessions from 1956-1957, aim to spark a broader appreciation for Wiggins’ talent, offering jazz for every emotion, mood, degree of concentration, and listening preference, inviting listeners on an enjoyable musical journey.

—Jordi Pujol


Sample this album
Disc 1
Disc 2
Total time: 141:17 min.

CD 1
01. Criss Cross (Gerald Wiggins) 4:21
02. Gray Skies (Gerald Wiggins) 3:20
03. X-15 (Gerald Wiggins) 3:38
04. Gerald's Train (Gerald Wiggins) 5:11
05. Lights Out (Gerald Wiggins) 3:33
06. Narcissus (Ethelbert Nevin) 6:37
07. Frankie and Johnny (Traditional) 5:35
08. One for My Baby (Arlen-Mercer) 4:44
09. The Lady Is A Tramp (Rodgers-Hart) 4:25
10. Serenade in Blue (Warren-Gordon) 4:03
11. My Heart Stood Still (Rodgers-Hart) 3:25
12. Just Squeeze Me & Satin Doll (Duke Ellington) 5:56
13. Blue Wig (Gerald Wiggins) 7:01
14. A Fifth for Frank (Wiggins-Tjader) 2:56
15. How Long Has This Been Going On? (G.& I.Gershwin) 1:59
16. In My Merry Oldsmobile (Gus Edwards) 3:00

CD 2
01. Love for Sale (Cole Porter) 4:02
02. I Don't Know What Kind of Blues I Got (Duke Ellington) 6:32
03. De Sylva Wig (Gerald Wiggins) 4:31
04. Laura (Raksin-Mercer) 3:30
05. Surrey with the Fringe on Top (Rodgers-Hammerstein II) 2:42
06. Dinah (Akst- Lewis-Young) 3:30
07. All That's Good (Gerald Wiggins) 5:41
08. The Man That Got Away (Arlen-Gershwin) 5:49
09. Three Little Words (Ruby-Kalmar) 3:28
10. Three O'Clock in the Morning (Robledo-Morse) 3:49
11. Oh, You Beautiful Doll (Nat D. Ayer) 2:46
12. Used To Love You (Harry Von Tilzer) 3:11
13. Dear Old Girl (Buck-Morse) 2:51
14. Trail of the Lonesome Pine (Harry Carroll) 3:10
15. Ma! She's Making Eyes at Me (Con Conrad) 4:31
16. That Old Gang of Mine (Rose-Henderson-Dixon) 3:46
17. They Didn't Believe Me (Kern-Rourke) 2:31
18. In My Merry Oldsmobile—Part 1 (Gus Edwards) 1:59
19. In My Merry Oldsmobile—Part 2 (Gus Edwards) 3:13

Album details

Sources CD 1:
Tracks #1-5, from the album “Gerry Mulligan-Chet Baker; Chico Hamilton; Buddy Collette-Gerald Wiggins” (Crown CLP 5289)
Tracks #6-13, from the album “Relax and Enjoy It!” (Contemporary S7595)
Tracks #14-16, from the “Stars of Jazz” TV Show

Sources CD 2:
Tracks #1-9, from the album “Wiggin’ with Wig” (Dig J-102)
Tracks #10-18, from the album “Reminiscin’ with Wig” (Motif ML-504)
Track #19, from the reel-to-reel Audio Arts tape "In My Stereoldsmobile" (Stereotape ST-16)

The Gerald Wiggins Trio

CD 1 tracks #1-5: Gerald Wiggins, piano; Gene Wright, bass; Bill Richmond, drums.
Recorded at Modern Records Studio, Los Angeles, February 24, 1956

CD 1 tracks #6-13: Gerald Wiggins, piano; Joe Comfort, bass; Jackie Mills, drums.
Recorded at Contemporary Studio, Los Angeles, October 10, 1956

CD 1 tracks #14-16: Gerald Wiggins, piano; Gene Wright, bass; Bill Douglass, drums; Plus Jackie Mills, bongos.
Recorded live at Stars of Jazz TV Show, Los Angeles, May 6, 1957

CD 2 tracks #1-9: Gerald Wiggins, piano; Joe Comfort, bass; Bill Douglass, drums.
Recorded at Capitol Studio, Los Angeles, October 15, 1956

CD 2 tracks #10-19: Gerald Wiggins, piano; Gene Wright, bass; Bill Douglass, drums.
Recorded at Audio Arts Studio, Los Angeles, March 6 & 7, 1957

Sound Engineers: Roy Du Nann (Contemporary), John Kraus (Dig), George Fields (Motif)
Cover photo © Dave Pell–Fresh Sound Archives
New liner notes by Jordi Pujol

Original recordings produced by Maxwell Davis (CD-1, #1-5), Lester Koenig (CD-1, #6-13), Jimmie Baker (CD-1, #14-16), Sleepy Stein and Johnny Otis (CD-2, #1-9) and David Axelrod (CD-2, #10-19)

This compilation produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol
© 2023 by Fresh Sound Records

Hi Fi / Stereo · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
Blue Moon Producciones Discograficas, S.L.

Press reviews

Listening to these trio sides from the fifties it’s obvious that Wiggins was a talented versatile musician

"You may not be familiar with the pianist Gerald Wiggins, but if you're a fan of the piano trio you should give this incredible musician a listen. Fresh Sound Records has released a terrific 2CD set of some of Wiggins classic trio sessions from the fifties.

The set includes the albums RELAX AND ENJOY IT!, WIGGIN’ WITH WIG, REMINISCIN’ WITH WIG plus five tracks from a compilation record and four from a fifties TV show.

Wiggins was known for his flawless technique, discriminating phrasing, and his creativity at the piano. His playing style showed that he understood the different jazz genres. He easily added in elements of swing, bebop, and rhythm and blues.

He was best known for backing singers like Lena Horne, Kay Starr, Dinah Washington, Helen Humes, and Anita Day.

Wiggins started playing classical music at age five. He wasn't crazy about it but then someone played an Art Tatum record for him. He said that was when he became passionate about music.

Wiggins played a lot of other people's compositions but he was a fine writer as well. I was impressed with his self-penned tunes from a Crown Records compilation.

Criss Cross sounds like a train coming down the tracks with a boogie-woogie beat. You don't hear Wiggins using his left hand for just block chords and bass lines. He plays melody off of what his right hand is doing so it can sound like two people are sitting at the piano.

Grey Skies is a great example of how a piano trio should play a ballad. Gene Wright's bass lines are warm and resonant. Drummer Bill Richmond's gentle brushwork make for some sparse and thoughtful fills; nothing flashy or busy. I like the way Wright's bass adds counter melodies to the pianists lines.

Wiggins also used Joe Comfort on bass and Jackie Mills or Bill Douglass on drums during this period. X-15 is an uptempo bop tune with bluesy phrases and intricate melodic lines.

Listening to these trio sides from the fifties its obvious that Wiggins was a talented versatile musician. He began his career as a musician accompanying comedian Stepin' Fetchit. He worked with Louis Armstrong and Benny Carter. In the 1960s he worked in film and television. He was even vocal coach for Marilyn Monroe."

—Tim Larsen (March 7, 2024)

Ringer of the Week ★★★★

"Because of the abundance of studio jobs for TV and movies for musicians, LA was a hotbed for musicians. How can you beat steady work, no travel and great weather?

The plethora of pianists during the 50s-70s was an embarrassment of riches, with the likes of Pete Jolly, Lou Levy, Victor Feldman and as presented here, Gerald Wiggins filling in the rhythm section at the local clubs like The Lighthouse, Concerts By The Sea or Donte’s. This two disc set has Wiggins in trio sessions with bassist Gene Wright (of Dave Brubeck fame) or Joe Comfort, with drummers Bill Richmond, Jackie Mills or Bill Douglass on drums. The music is uniformly classy, swinging and exciting.

Wiggins also had a good touch with the pen, as the February, 1956 session features his originals like the bopping “Criss Cross” and fervent “Gerald’s Train”. He throws a handful of originals in with the rest of the sessions, such as the clever “A Fifth For Frank” which includes Jackie Milss on congas. He is elegant on “Laura”, delicate on the more obscure “The Man That Got Away” and clever on a sly read of the more arcane “Merry Old Oldsmobile” and “Ma, She’s Making Eyes At Me”. But that is actually the joy of Wiggins, as most pianists in the lounge would try out a few ringers every now and then just to perk up the people in their naugahyde booths. LA lounge lizard at his best."

—George W. Harris (February 1, 2024)

"Gerald Wiggins (1922-2008) was a Southern California legend for decades. Early on he worked in the big bands of Louis Armstrong and Benny Carter and by 1947 had settled in Los Angeles. He worked with the Gerald Wilson big band, became an accompanist for a long line of singers (most notably Lena Horne, Kay Starr and Eartha Kitt), was employed as a vocal coach for some actresses (including Marilyn Monroe), and was a constant at L.A. area jazz clubs, both as a pianist and as a member of the audience cheering on others.

Wiggins first recorded as a leader while in Paris in 1950. This double-CD from the Fresh Sound label has all of the music from his next four opportunities to lead his own albums: five songs from a Crown Lp that he shared with others along with Relax And Enjoy It, Wiggin’ With Wig, and Reminiscin’ With Wig. The pianist heads trios with either Eugene Wright or Joe Comfort on bass and Bill Richmond, Jackie Mills or Bill Douglass on drums. Dating from 1956-57, these sessions feature Wiggins at times showing the influence of Erroll Garner (and to a lesser extent Art Tatum) but mostly displaying his own swinging musical personality and consistently coming up with fresh ideas and infectious riffs. There are also some witty moments along the way particularly on some of the more vintage songs included on “Reminiscin’ With Wig.”

In addition to the four albums, this twofer includes three of the songs that the Gerald Wiggins Trio performed on the Stars Of Jazz television show and a rare alternate take of “In My Merry Oldsmobile” that was only originally available on a reel-to-reel tape.

Another Fresh Sound Gerald Wiggins CD (Modern Jazz Renditions) includes Wiggins two other 1950s albums (The King And I and Around The World In 80 Days). Otherwise the pianist only led two other albums (one on organ) until 1974.

While his recordings from later years are quite worthy, Classic Trio Recordings 1956-1957 is the Gerald Wiggins set to get, featuring the pianist at his very best."

—Scott Yanow (February, 2024)
Los Angeles Jazz Scene


14,95 €  (tax incl.)

Add to wishlist

Added to your wishlist.

You can manage your wishlist here.

You're not signed in

You must sign in to manage your wishlist.
Sign in
Delivery information:
Delivery in 5-7 days
Shipping rates Terms and conditions
Payment methods:



Customer reviews

Write a review

Swingin' with Wig · Classic Trio Sessions 1956-1957 (2-CD)
Rate this product:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Your review has been added and will be available once approved by a moderator.