Born and raised in New York City, Wiggins’ professional career began in his teens. Inspired by Teddy Wilson, Billy Kyle and Art Tatum; Gerald attended the now famous Music and Arts High School in Harlem, with his first professional break coming as accompanist to comic Stepin’ Fetchit. Within a short span of time, his list of credits grew to include Les Hite’s band, Louis Armstrong and Benny Carter.
After a two-year service in the armed forces, during which time he became a major figure in the Seattle jazz scene, Gerald resumed his career in 1950 as accompanist to Lena Horne, Kay Starr, Helen Humes, Esther Phillips, Eartha Kitt, Joe Williams and countless others including movie queen Marilyn Monroe, who signed a photo, “without you I can’t make a sound”.
Since the late forties, Gerald Wiggins, affectionately known as “Wig”, has performed with jazz greats from dizzy Gillespie to Wynton Marsalis; has played major festivals, parties and clubs as a featured artist or with his own trio and was music director for a PBS special (VCR) “America’s Blues I”. He has recorded with numerous artists, most recently with Joe Pass, Red Holloway/Clark Terry, Scott Hamilton and the Frank Capp Juggernaut band. He is number eight in Concord’s prestigious Maybeck Piano Solo series and has added to their catalog a new trio recording, ‘Soulidarity’.
Wig’s inventive harmony, sensitivity, humor and ability to swing are trademarks, which have earned him loyal fans and the respect of fellow artists.
We regret to inform you of the passing of Wig on 7/14/08