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Artists - Wilbur Little



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A versatile bassist who played in countless settings throughout his career, Wilbur Little was at his best when playing part of a swinging rhythm section that pushed at the boundaries of hard bop. He was originally a pianist but switched to bass after serving in the military. Little moved to Washington D.C. in 1949, where he worked with Sir Charles Thompson, Leo Parker, the R&B-ish Griffin Brothers, singer Margie Day, and Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams (1951-1953). Little spent a couple years in a trio that supported many visiting players including Miles Davis and John Coltrane. The bassist became known after a three-year stint with J.J. Johnson's quintet (1955-1958). As a freelancer, Little performed with many top musicians including Tommy Flanagan, Sonny Stitt, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Kenny Burrell, Elvin Jones, and Clark Terry. In 1976, he visited Japan with Duke Jordan and moved to Amsterdam in 1977. In his later years, Little worked with Charles Tolliver, Archie Shepp (with whom he recorded in 1985), Clifford Jordan, and Barry Harris, among others. Although he never led his own session, he recorded with many artists through the years, including Bobby Jaspar, Tommy Flanagan, Randy Weston, and Al Haig. ~ Scott Yanow