Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Wiggins, Gary (Allen)

Wiggins, Gary (Allen), tenor and alto saxophone; b. Christ Court in Inkster, Michigan, 10 November 1952. He was born 10 miles outside of Detroit. While he was still an infant family moved to the west side of Detroit on Oregon Street where he was raised. His late mother Ruth (born Ruth Russell 1920-1999), a devoted church mother, reared him in the church where he began to perform on the saxophone in 1962. Attended Northwestern High until 1970. Played in the Jazz band while attending  Sacramento Community College.

He made his first recorded release on 45rpm in 1970 with his band the Impacs. The Impacs were a backing band for several of the Detroit, Michigan R&B vocal groups. After touring with The Dramatics and performing in such places as the Apollo in Harlem, the T.P. Warner Theater in Washington D.C. and tours through Panama, and the eastern coast of North America, Wiggins headed west and camped in California for five years. During this time he performed with musicians such as Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Johnny Heartsman, Roy Brown, Big Mama Thorton, and many other musicians on the West Coast music scene.

After a short stay in Hawaii where he studied with Q Martin, Wiggins headed back east, first to Detroit, Michigan and by 1982 he found himself in the heart of the world blues scene with an apartment in Chicago, upstairs over the legendary Kingston Mines.  During the year spent in Chicago, Wiggins was a member in the bands of Lefty Dizz, Sugar Blue, Sunnyland Slim, Johnny Littlejohn, and Pocketwatch Paul.

The International Blues Duo (IBD) was founded in Chicago July 1982 when Wiggins teamed with German pianist, Christian Rannenberg.  During the next seven years, IBD recorded three albums, initiated and performed European tours with Angela Brown, Valerie Wellington, Big Jay McNeely, Charlie Musslewhite, Johnny Copeland, Johnny Heartsman, Jeanne Carroll, and many of the European based musicians.

Just before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Detroit relocated to this city in Germany, where he formed the Detroit Gary Wiggins Group. With Reggie Moore on piano, Zam Johnson on drums, and Reinhard Schubert on bass, this group has performed in such places as the Lionel Hampton Jazz Club in Paris, CPM in Geneva, A-Trane in Berlin, Half Note in Athens, and various festivals throughout Europe.

In the early nineties, while operating in Berlin, Wiggins began producing a series of concerts that featured many of the American lady blues and gospel singers such as Angela Brown, Liz McComb, Queen Yahna, Jeanne Carroll, Maisha Grant, and several others. In 1992 he reopened the famous Blues Cafe Berlin where he was producing concerts five nights a week.

In April of 1995, Gary brought to Paris the show, Saxman And The Ladies, performing a five-week engagement at the Quai du Blues. Since this time, Detroit Gary Wiggins has become a popular headliner in famous Parisian nightspots such as Caveaux de la Huchette to the legendary jazz clubs of St. Germaine des Pres.

The final year of the 20th century Wiggins and his tenor sax has swung around the world playing a three-month engagement in Tokyo, concerts in Paris, concert dates in Switzerland, San Francisco, Detroit, and Germany. Gary is still currently residing in Berlin where he performs every Monday since January 1 2001 at the Soultrane Jazz Club.  He is also a member of "The Just No Posse," a band that promotes world peace.

He married Anja in 1992. His son, Patrick Allen, was born in Berlin 1991. His daughter, Pascale Yasmin, was born in Berlin 1993.  He was divorced from Anja, 6 days after Patrick turned 6.

With Christian Rannenberg: Introducing The International Blues Duo To The World (1984); The International Blues Duo Meets Blues Wire: Truly International (1987); With Christian Rannenberg : Vol. I, The International Blues Duo-Featuring Katie Webster (1989); Time For Saxin' (1990); Acoustic Soul (1992); I Got Up (1996); With Fabrice Eulry: Paril Jook (1996);

Unissued recordings:
Several unofficial recordings live from the A-Trane and Soultrane. Almost every Monday in 2002 and 2003

As sideperson:
Klaus Lage: Schweissperlen (1985); Johnny Heartsman: Sacramento (1987); Roy Gaines: Going home to see Mama (1987); Bobby McFerrin: Bobby's Thing (1988); Angela Brown: Live (1993); The Gospel Messengers: Lean on Me (1996); EB Davis: Fool for the Ladies (1996)

Films and television broadcasts:
Winner of the Gong Show - 1977; Appearence in "Solo for Clarinette"; Appearence in "Deutschland lied"; Appearance in "Die Drei"

Winner of Berlin Jazz and Blues Award (2nd place) 2001

Contact information:
Gary Wiggins
e-mail detroitwiggins@aol.com
www.detroitwiggins.de | index.html
Lizette Cobb Productions
2411 Wheeler
Houston Texas
713 529 93 87
Konigsallee 39
14193 Berlin
*49 30 897 28 252

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