Wardell Gray

Wardell Gray (February 13, 1921 – May 25, 1955) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist who straddled the swing and bebop periods.

 

 

 

 

 

Oklahoma-born jazzman Wardell Gray was inducted into the Jazz category of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame posthumously in 2014, and was one of the top tenors to emerge during the bop era, the great tenor saxophonist of his time. Known as the Thin Man, Gray was a major contributor to the period of jazz creativity that ushered in modern jazz. Although his death was untimely and his career was abbreviated (1943-1955), Gray played with virtually every major figure of the period and was universally admired for his musical abilities and his gentlemanly deportment. Equally at home with standards, jazz originals, ballads, up tempo selections, and blues, Gray never compromised his high musical standards and talent. Gray died in 1955 in Las Vegas, after performing with the Benny Carter Orchestra during the opening of the Moulin Rouge, the city’s first integrated casino.