- "It's You or No One" (Kahn, Styne)
- "It's Easy to Remember" (Rodgers, Hart)
- "Samba De Ofreo" (Bonfa, Salvet, DeMorales)
- "Prelude to a Kiss" (Ellington, Mills, Irving)
- "How Deep Is the Ocean" (Berlin)
- "Far Away Place" (Kramer, Whitney)
- "I Cover the Waterfront" (Green, Heyman)
- "Lady Be Good" (G. & I. Gershwin)
Trumpeter Joe Wilder was recently awarded the 2008 Jazz Master Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Born in 1922 in the Borough of Colwyn, Penn., Joe Wilder grew up hearing his father, Curtis, playing bass and leading big bands on the Philadelphia jazz scene. His older brother, Curtis Jr., would also become a bass player, but Joe gravitated toward brass instruments. His father bought him a trumpet and soon began bringing Joe to his gigs, allowing him to sit in with the band.
Wilder played in the orchestra in junior high and high school, graduating from the Masbaum School of Music. Despite his interest in classical music, Wilder understood that his race would prevent him from joining a symphony orchestra at the time. He chose instead to pursue music in the popular big bands of the day.
His first professional gig came at age 19 with Les Hite's band, sharing the trumpet section with a young Dizzy Gillespie. He then joined with Lionel Hampton — a gig interrupted by WWII. After returning from the war, where he served as assistant bandmaster of the Marine Band, Wilder played with some of the most popular big band orchestras of the day, including the groups of Jimmie Lunceford, Lucky Millinder, Herbie Fields, Gillespie, and Count Basie.
In the mid-1950s, Wilder began playing in Broadway productions and touring companies of musicals such as Guys and Dolls and Silk Stockings. Wilder also began a nearly 20-year association with ABC as a staff musician. At the same time, he performed and recorded with such jazz greats as Hank Jones, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, and Tony Bennett.
In the 1960s, Wilder renewed his passion for classical music, studying at the Manhattan School of Music, where he served as principal trumpet in the school's symphony orchestra. He's since played with the New York Philharmonic and the Symphony of the New World, the first integrated professional symphony in the U.S.
Wilder continued recording and touring throughout the '70s and '80s. Since the early 1990s, he's made several records as a leader on the Evening Star label. He's also played in the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. In 2008, Wilder was awarded with the Jazz Master Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Originally recorded Oct. 18, 2000. Originally broadcast Feb. 13, 2001.