The Golden World Story
Wingate Jazzes It Up

Sonny Stitt

photograph courtesy of Jim Gallert

Wingate004 was released in August 1965, but it was an uninspiring 45 by Al Kent, called "Country boy".

Al's name had already appeared on a couple of Golden World discs in the capacity of songwriter, notably working with New Yorkers such as Charlie Calello and Sammy Lowe. No doubt this connection came from his days as an artist in NYC on the Wizard label.

Over the next six months the Wingate label would change direction by bringing in some jazz influence in the form of Sonny Stitt and Hank Marr.

This would appear to have been another shrewd move by Ed, especially putting Sonny out on established songs, but strangely there was no chart action.

Jim Gallert was able to tell me that Sonny was born Edward Boatner in 1922 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and grew up in Saginaw, Michigan. It was on his beloved alto saxophone that he worked with such greats as Billy Eckstine & Dizzy Gillespie. In the fifties, he would begin to feature the tenor saxophone.  

His first 45 for Wingate, "Agent-Double-O-Soul", was a beautiful, crystal clear recording, that did this great song justice. It is a travesty that it was not a hit.

Sonny's next recording was "Concerto for jazz lovers" c/w "Just dust" which was released in December.

Hank Marr made his debut in January '66 with a nice number, "Marr's groove". On the flip side was another Sonny tune,  "Stitt's groove". 

Hank had a string of releases on the Federal label in Cincinnati before joining Wingate. He was a jazz organist and had formed the Hank Marr Trio playing behind stars such as Della Reese and Lou Rawls.

After some outings on the King label he worked on TV with George Kirby as a musical director .

Wingate012 followed just four weeks later. "White house party" c/w "The out crowd" were two great sides in the Ramsey Lewis mould, and like the Sonny Stitt recordings, were produced by Bob d'Orleans.

Wingate's final flurry with Jazz came in April '66 with The Mark 111 Trio and  "G'Wan" c/w "Good grease". This number was produced by percussionist Ricardo Lewis.

Perhaps the Mark 111 name is derived from Hank Marr's surname? 



Notes by David Meikle

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